25maj2015

Is machine translation (computer translation) good?

Computer machine translation relies on entering a text to appropriate device, computer program or a website and waiting a moment to perform the translation. What we get in return often do not meet our expectations. Why?

Despite the use of increasingly sophisticated techniques, computer translation is still "contaminated" with automatism. Usually, the computer will cope well with  the translation of single words (without taking into account their context) and spelling. Whereas, the translation of connected words (sentences) requires additional skills that machines do not have. Machines lack intuition, lack emotional expression and their word base is limited. Often there are also grammatical problems, what in the case of Polish, English, German or French is important because each of these languages, uses a different syntax of the language.  Here's a sample excerpt translated by a computer program: "the key is to undertake (take) to more (most) important decisions." Is it understandable? Knowing the text you will probably guess, "what the author wanted to say." However, the correct version is: "The key is to make the most important decisions" and probably this is the version we would get from a "real" translator.

Undoubtedly, if we received a letter from the family, such translation may be good enough for us. In the end we will guess what the family wants to tell us. However, in the case of more complex texts, technical texts, or texts that misinterpretation may lead to unforeseen consequences (e.g. a contract), it is better to find a professional who often for a reasonable price will agree to do reliable translation.

See also

Translation software - XTRF

XTRF ™ is a complete system for the management of translation agencies and service design processes. It provides automation of processes, effective gathering, information circulation and...