Machine translation is widely available, quick and easy. Machine translators know dozens of languages. Machine translated texts look correct (“although I don’t actually understand the language and thus cannot be sure whether it’s correct”). At the same time machine translation gets a lot of negative response about its poor quality. Many professional, human translators argue that proofreading a machine translated text takes more time and is more laborious than translating from a scratch. These opposite point of views can be very confusing. So, should I use machine translation or not?
Arguments against machine translation
Machine translators are not and will never become human beings. Languages are human made communication methods with some logic and a lot of irregularity. Machines calculate, people think.
Using machine translation contains risk if one doesn’t have any skills on that specific language.
Machine translation is still rarely totally flawless. The fact is that machine translators make mistakes what comes to the grammatical correctness.
Machine translators are too easy and fast which lowers the threshold to use it. In worst scenario the situation can be similar to sending SMS under influence. Some acumen is always recommended.
Low quality machine translations ruin the overall quality of written languages, and thus it shouldn’t be used.
Arguments for machine translation
People always understand their own language (even with low quality) better than a language they have no knowledge of.
Machine translation quality is improving constantly; today some language pairs produce amazingly good machine translation quality.
In situations when time and money are restrictive assets machine translation is often the most reasonable way to translate.
Machine translation is a tool for understanding the idea or message of foreign language information. It’s not even supposed to be a grammar genius.
Machine translation is cheap or even free, and thus one can easily try whether the text can be translated with machine translator. If the outcome is unreadable, the losses remain very minimal.
Some translators and translation agencies charge less for proofreading of machine translated text than for translating from the beginning.
New innovations in the field of machine translation quality, which both improve and evaluate the quality, will decrease all the uncertainty around machine translation.
What other reasons would you argue either for or against machine translation?
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