Translation is an essential tool for communication between businesses, companies and their customers, between organizations and between countries too. One of the common ways of getting any translation done is to go through a freelance translator or a translation agency. However, for the past years, there has been an emergence machine translators which are becoming popular every day. Machine translation has evolved amazingly over the past few years. It has reached a point where most students are using Google’s translation services to help them with their foreign languages homework.
Over the past few years, machine translators have become more accurate with the programs learning more about words and their content. The reason being the drastic change in technology with every industry thinking about artificial intelligence and machine learning. This has made machine translation and automatic translation services become some of the driving forces behind the development of this technology. It is evident that companies like Google and Microsoft are serious about automatic translation.
Machines are replacing people at different workplaces and it is going to get tougher with time. However, it is not definite that human translation will be fully replaced by machine translators. The question here is how efficient are the machine translators and can they replace professional translators? Which one is better? The answer here is simple. Machine translators will never replace human translators not even on the aspect of speed let alone accuracy and efficiency. Let’s look at some of the glaring reasons why human translators can never be replaced by machine translators:-
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1. Machines cannot understand culture
There is no way you can program a machine to understand culture. Different cultures in the world have different lexical items that are unique to that specific culture. Machines don’t have the complexity to understand or recognize slang, idioms and in some cases names. This is one challenge machines have never been able to overcome and it will be extremely difficult for them too. While this is a significant challenge to the machines, native in-country speakers who are well versed in the languages and understand all the idioms and slang the culture has to offer are skilled enough to find suitable equivalents in the target languages.
Remember in some cultures; some words mean one thing to them while the same words in another culture mean an entirely different thing. Different people have different accent meaning their pronunciation is different even if the words mean the same thing. Only a human translation can tell the difference because the machine translator will just do the direct word to word translation.
These human translators are soaked up in the culture and are able to pick slang and nuances in the text that machines cannot detect. This is a hindrance to machines because they are not advanced to the level of rendering these nuances accurately, but they can only do word to word translations. This puts human translators at a very high level as compared to the machine translators.
2. Machines can’t relate words to context
In the different languages, there are words with dual meanings and this can be a significant problem for the machine translators. These words have to be related to the context to help determine their true meanings and only a human translation can do this. For example, the word “tears” in the English language could refer to holes in a bag or an action of tearing something. It could also mean the tears shed when someone is sad. This now becomes tricky for the machine translator because it cannot relate the word to the context while at the same time, the machine cannot give both the meanings on one text. On the other hand, it’s easy for the human translator to identify the correct meaning by instantly matching the word to the content. If you run a document with this kind of words through a machine translator, it will lead to inaccurate translations which disrupt the flow of the text. The document will be confusing and most of the sentences will lack logical meaning.
3. It is difficult to localize machines for different languages
New phrases are being developed in any language depending on the dialect. Machine translators cannot be able to pick on these evolutions in the languages as fast as human translators who will be experts on localization and different dialects of their specialist language. The machine will have to be kept up to date regularly by constantly “learning” new phrases based on how often words in new contexts or new words come up in a conversation before they can find a suitable translation.
This means that the machine translator will have to be continuously programmed and with the sophisticated algorithms these programs are made up of, this will take time and effort to achieve. On the other hand, the human translator is able to pick up on the development in a language quickly than the machine. If you feed new words in a machine translator, the machine might go “speechless” trying to come up with the most appropriate way to translate the strange combination of words. The million dollar question now is, what if there is no suitable translation for the particular phrase?
4. Machines cannot replicate style and tone
Every document written has different style and tone as compared to the other one. A document can have poetic, funny or persuasive style and tone but when it comes to translation, machines miss them. The document is meant to have that specific style and tone for it to be understood by the reader and if it lacks that, then the document’s meaning can go down the drain. Only a human translation can be able to match and recreate something similar to the style and tone of that document. The machine translator will lose the intended tone and intricate nuances of the original document thus producing something that is flat and soul-less.
Specific types of texts like poetry and argumentative essays, in particular, pose a considerable challenge for the machine translators. They are unable to capture the mood of the text accurately and the result is a flat translation. The original text now becomes inefficient because the person reading the machine translation has something that is not appealing to their mind.
5. A translation cannot be complete without the human touch
Machine translators use artificial intelligence and while it is developing day in day out, it can never match human intelligence. Machine translators are becoming more efficient and the quality of the translations produced are becoming more understandable. However, the need for humans to be part of the machine translation equation is always there. After a translation is churned out by the machine, there has to be copyeditors and proofreaders to ensure the piece of translation is grammatically correct and it is also comprehensible. The human translator will put in the finishing touches to the piece localizing and enhancing it for the target audience. If the piece of text has local references and you need it translated for the Chinese, the references can be changed to fit the new context. This is one ability the machines can never beat or be at par with.
The complexity of any language is something only humans can fully understand. This is a fact and even the geniuses behind automatic or machine translations tools have conceded to. This means they are developing these devices with the intention to help the human translators but not to force them out of the field. Bottom line is machine translators can never beat the human translators because no machine translator is perfect.
Ordering Human translation
Machine translators have come a long way in a short period, but they are still lacking in certain aspects. These are the aspects that make a translation effective for day to day and business use and this is where human translators beat the machines.
Translation is most needed if one is not proficient in the source and target language. At Speakt, everything is factored to give you the best translation of the text you provide. If you can barely understand the text in a target or source language, how can you tell if a piece of writing is well translated? Don’t risk putting your brand and its reputation in jeopardy with the unreliable machine translators. Leave it to Speakt and experience the difference. We have professional native translators who fully grasp how the specific language works and will convert all your documents into something publishable. Don’t lose that personal touch with your clients by entrusting your translation to unreliable machine translators. With Speakt, you just have to insert a file or text via simple and user-friendly form and order a translation. Professional native translators will then get started with the translation immediately and you then receive the translated files in your mailbox. It is that quick and easy, hassle-free process that guarantees you of the best results.