Software, Technology

The Disadvantages Of Robo-Translations

Advances in technology have made software translation a reality. All you have to do is feed in your text, set the language in which the translation is required and hit the "Translate" button. That's it. You get your document translated.

Sounds too good to be true?

There's no machine, no software in this world that can ever translate like a human being can. Software translation can at best translate a few words or a couple of sentences, but for anything like a full document or a legal paper, you must work with a professional document translation service.

Here are some of the disadvantages of computer-aided translation:

  1. Machine translation may be faster than human translation but it can no way understand the lingo or the cultural nuances. That said, machine translation can work if the work does not exceed a paragraph or two.
  2. Machine translation is way too cheap to be professional. You cannot ever compare a professional translator's fees with what the per-page cost of machine translation. If you indulge in such comparisons and choose on that basis, you are doing the wrong thing.
  3. Many folks say that machine translation keeps it confidential. Such folks must know that a document translation service that employs accredited and certified translators is more secure than a computer, which can be hacked into.
  4. Computer software is neither a specialist nor a linguist. It can only convert words from one language into another. You cannot really trust such an unreliable source. When the machine translates words, the accuracy, lingo, the language nuances, and many other cultural aspects are lost. Sometimes meanings get twisted beyond recognition, and such unreliable translation can ruin your reputation and business.
  5. Machine translation is stiff. It cannot resolve language ambiguities. It cannot think like a human being. Software is based on formal rules, and it can in no way go beyond such rules. Translation is one service that must go beyond stiff and systemic rules.

Honestly, there are no real advantages of machine translation unless you want to translate a paragraph or two. Beyond that, it may prove useless.

If you are considering buying software for document translation - don't. You may end up ruining your brand and your business. If you need to translate a paragraph or two, or if you are in college, then you can go ahead with the software translation. But if you need a proper translation for business documents, then you must work with a professional service.

This article was published on behalf of Mae A. Doherty. She is a blogger from San Jose who enjoys writing about technology.

One Comment

  1. Dears,

    I’m afraid you’re confusing machine translation (MT) with computer-aided translation. One is an automatic translation made by a computer software using some special language algorithms. The other refers to a translation redered by a human translator with the aid of a CAT tool (Trados, Wordfast, Dejavour, among others). A CAT tool only helps the human translator by letting him or her user TMs (Translation Memories) and glossaries managed by the translator with the help of the software. The CAT tool stores all the translation made by the human translator in specific memories and can also use the glossaries also created by the translator in order to make his her work easier and faster. Contrary to what many may think, a computer-aided translation is never made by a computer. On the other hand, MT is made completely by a machine without human intervention.


    Wagner Vitor

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