What are the key differences between human translation and machine translation?

This is guest blog posting from Sharon Wilson.

1. Human translators do the thinking. As they aren’t programmed like MT, they can engage in translating the more complex text which has nuances and slang in it. MT has difficulty with thinking as it only translates what it has been programmed to do.

2. A human translator is flexible when it comes to time and can spend more time translating a text if it’s more complex. On the other hand, MT is programmed at the vocabulary level and can do the translation at breakneck speed, but it doesn’t have the ability to check the translation and write any of the words or phrases differently.

3. A human translator can turn out to be quite expensive so that’s a good reason to turn to MT as it’s much cheaper.

The process used by a human translator

If it’s accuracy you are after you will choose a human translator because a human translator knows when a translation is good and will fulfill a client’s requirements. The first thing a human translator will do is read the source text. From this s/he will see what the text type is, determine the writer’s style and purpose; see what the quality of the writing is like and see how the different parts of the text are arranged. From this information, the translator will know whether the translation falls within knowledge range or whether some research is required to say become familiar with some specific vocabulary.
Current MT software doesn’t have the knowledge to think out of the box so a mish-mash of words could be found in a legal document that isn’t linked properly so the translation doesn’t sound quite right. It’s also quite common in a language for a word to have many synonyms and a human translator will know exactly which one fits the best while MT would have no idea.

Proofreading a translation

Most MT software won’t have the skill to complete an accurate proofread unless they have been well trained in a particular specialized area. A human translator can quickly spot misspelled words and punctuation errors.

Editing a translation

The experienced translator should have the required knowledge of style, punctuation, and grammar for the genre(s) they are translating so if the wrong synonym has been used it will be quickly substituted for a more appropriate one. A machine translator won’t be able to do that.

So, what’s the best, machine translation or human translation?
Machine translation without a doubt is quicker but the translation isn’t so accurate so can’t be relied upon except when only a vague meaning is required.

Author Bio:
A Blogger from Aussie Translations, Sharon Wilson has specialized in writing blog posts and have worked with entrepreneurs, executives, industry experts and many other professionals in writing and publishing, blogs, newspaper articles, SEO web content, and more.