Machine Translation Software vs. Human Translation

Machine Translation Software vs. Human Translation

The machine translation software vs. human translation debate is gaining momentum with advancements in technology. Learn everything you need to know about the two types, which is better, and when to use each type.

Have you ever read a translated Facebook post or comment and laughed at how ridiculous the translation sounded?  That is one of the shortcomings of AI-aided machine translation; inaccuracies. We appreciate technology’s role in making our work easier, but sometimes, machine translation software can lead to costly inaccuracies.

So, how do machine translations compare to human translations? Which translation better suits your business needs?

We will answer these questions in this article as we get down to the machine translation software vs. human translation discourse. We will also look at each method’s pros and cons and when to use each type of translation.

Let’s get started.

Machine Translation Software vs. Human Translation

Machine Translation Software vs. Human Translation

To better understand the machine translation software vs. human translation showdown, let’s first look at each type individually.

Machine Translation Software 

Machine translation software uses artificial intelligence tools, algorithms, statistical analysis, and defined rules to translate a word to the preferred language instantly. Also known as AI translators, these tools include Google Translate, Yandex, Microsoft Translate, Amazon Translate, Unbabel, and Cloud Translation API.

Machine translation is divided into four types. These include:

1) Rule-based machine translation– the translation software uses algorithms to study the source language’s grammar, syntax, and phrases to translate into the target language.

2) Neural machine translation– the neural approach incorporates machine learning technology to instruct the translation software on translating large volumes of text. It is the most widely-used approach in current machine translations due to its sophistication and accuracy.

3) Statistical machine translation– this type of translation depends on existing translations and other defined rules. This method translates texts by analysing the correspondence of the source language and the target language.

4) Hybrid machine translation– this translation method combines the statistical approach and the rule-based technique. It is more sophisticated and accurate, but it still has its share of drawbacks, such as the need for a human proof reader.

Pros of the Machine Translation Software

Machine translation software offers fast translations that save you time. You can use the extra time to work on other business areas such as marketing or delivering products and services to clients.

Moreover, machine translations are cheap. Some AI translators will not charge you a dime to translate your project. The affordability makes machine translation software the best choice for business start-ups with tight budgets.

Furthermore,  you are spoilt for choice, with several AI-translators at your disposal. These tools give you the flexibility you need to build your business.

Cons of the Machine Translation Software 

AI translators have come a long way since the first machine translator in 1954, but there is room for improvement.  The primary pitfall of machine translation software is inaccuracy. Most AI translators only offer up to 80% accuracy, affecting your business.

Another reason why most businesses shy away from machine translation software is the loss of tone, context, and even meaning during translation. Such errors may put off your target audience leading to poor conversions or sales. Moreover, loss of meaning may lead to costly miscommunications.

Human Translation

Human translation entails hiring a human conversant with the source and target languages to translate your text from one language to the other. These individuals have the necessary training, certification, and experience to handle such work, and the results are excellent.

Human translators have been around for decades, and despite the rise of AI-powered translations, they remain an integral part of business translations.

Pros of Human Translations

Human translations are precise and accurate. When you hire a professional translator, you can rest assured your project will have the right tone, engagement, and context. A certified translator uses their intuition, knowledge, and understanding of your target audience to craft engaging and relatable text.

Secondly, human translators are conversant with the latest developments and trends in language and human interactions. For example, a human translator will know some words are gender insensitive or culturally degrading and therefore omit them in their translations.

Lastly, human translators offer you the advantage of revisions and amendments in case of errors.

Cons of Human Translations

Human translations are costly. You will dig deeper into your pockets, but you will get a good return on investment in the long run.

Human translations are also time-consuming. You need to look for certified translation service providers, vet their capabilities, hire them, and send the work. They will then research and translate your project to ensure high-quality output.

Are you looking for a human translator who will deliver high-quality work with a quick turnaround? Wordsburg offers fast translations into over 100 languages at affordable rates.

Which One is Better? Machine Translation vs. Human Translation

By now, you understand the benefits and downsides of each type of translation. If you have the machine translation vs. human translation debate in your head, several factors will help you decide. These are:

1) Kind of Project

Kind of Project

Machine translation will do satisfactory work for simple guidelines, manuals, and comments. However, if it’s a complex project such as a movie, webinar, company reports, or stakeholders briefings, you’d better hire an experienced human translator.

If you are working with sensitive data such as medical, legal, or patent translations, Wordsburg is here to help. We also translate gadget and app-related data into your preferred language.

2) Target Audience

Your target audience determines which type of translation suits your project. Machine translations may work fine for general audiences, but technical audiences or marketing professionals may need precise and accurate presentation of the original text.

3) Time


Machine translations are fast. On the other hand, a professional human translator takes time to translate the project and ensure the tone, context, and engagement are perfect. The type of translation you choose will depend on your deadline and project needs.

4) Budget

Human translations are pricey, but you get real value for your money. If you’re working on a worthwhile project with a capacity to bring in huge profits, invest in the project by hiring a certified translation agency.

However, if you are starting your business and your finances are tight, go for machine translations, but have a native speaker proofread it. At Wordsburg, we offer affordable translation services that will give you a good return on investment. Contact us today for a quote.

When to Use Machine Translation

When to Use Machine Translation

Generally, you can use machine translation for projects that don’t require precision, such as internal documents within your business and work whose general meaning is enough. Moreover, if you want to first translate original work before hiring a human translator to proofread it, machine translation can save you time and money.

When to Use Human Translation

When to Use Human Translation

Human translations are better than their machine counterparts. The following are situations when human translations are necessary:

A. When your project demands 100 % accuracy

B. When translating confidential and sensitive texts such as legal documents, product guidelines, medical manuals, and personal documents.

C. When your project is meant for marketing professionals or other creative language audiences

Get high-quality, affordable, and multilingual translation services from the best translation agency in Singapore, the UK, and Malaysia. Contact Wordsburg today for a quote.

Wrap Up

The machine translation software vs. human translation debate is longstanding and lingers with recent AI and machine learning developments. Each type of translation has its pros and cons, and the decision to go for each depends on your project type, budget, target audience, and business goals. However, most business and official translations require a human touch even after using AI translators.

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