Why Human Translation Is Better Than Machine Translation?

By Elodie Charvet, Lingolet Team

Why Human Translation Is Better Than Machine Translation?

Will machines ever replace us? From mobile phones to home heating systems, gadgets are embedded in day-to-day life and have helped improve the lives of billions across the globe.


Machine translation is the substitution of words from one language into another. In theory, zero human input is needed. But anyone who has ever used Google Translate will know that the results aren’t always what you expect.


Translation technology is becoming ever more powerful and removing the human translator from the process is cheaper and easy to access.

However, there are drawbacks :

  • The level of accuracy can be deficient. It will only ever produce a literal word-for-word translation. Tone and idioms won’t be picked up by machine translation.

  • Machines can’t translate context. Words or phrases have multiple meanings, and sometimes we need the context to know what is meant

  • Accuracy is also very inconsistent across different languages. Moreover, not every language is offered.

Machine translation works well with formulaic language, with small factual snippets where the meaning can’t be misconstrued. It’s a great way to translate simple sentences and phrases, or when you simply want to understand the general gist of a small text like an email. But to translate a whole document where the meaning needs to be completely understood, human translation is necessary.


 

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Learn more about medical translation: 

 

  • Why are medical translation errors unacceptable, and how can they be avoided

  • Is there a difference in medical language between Quebec French and French from France?