Automated Translation or Human Translators? A Comparative Study

The current wave of system or process automation leaves one wondering who’s’ next or which industry would experience the looming automation tsunami before the end of the century. Last year, the footage of robotic arms performing surgery on potatoes which later went viral sent shivers down the spine of many around the globe. Finally, the end of human dominance is near. And it’s winding down fast. The robots are all around us—getting in the way and taking our roles.

The footage message was simple: the possibility of technology is limitless. Presently, it’s quite difficult to tell which aspect of human lives won’t experience the full impact of technological automation. The biggest nightmare for all professionals in most field is Artificial Intelligence (AI)—the gentle giant with visible impact yet invisible to the eye.  It’s the favorite bride no prince can resist. 

In this article, we want to make sense of the comparison between automation translation and human translation. Which of the duo is the best and can they truly be independent of each other?

Let’s unravel the facts and fallacies.  

If you’ve ever dashed to a website and noticed the content was written in another foreign language that looks inconceivable, it’s usually disheartening. Luckily, you navigated with Google Chrome browser, and it automatically translates the entire page to what you understand in seconds—it’s a soothing experience. That’s the magic. Also, if you ever outsourced a 5000 page document to professional human translators that came back error free and on time, you can’t but thank them for saving you.

The two are used for different purposes and the result often differ most times. One is used for real-time translation within seconds while the other is great for technical jobs that require crossing every T’s. The comparison between these two includes their high points and pitfalls. Also, understanding the roles which they both play at improving communication across international boundaries.

Automated Translation to the Rescue…

With just a few clicks—it’s three— Google Translate does translation in a foreign language in seconds. All thanks to deep learning (an automatic learning method based on neurons), translation is done instantly and free.  They have integrated seamlessly to web pages for use anytime without additional input from anyone anywhere.

Its greatest advantage—immediacy—enabling users get instant translations for easy comprehension while being a great help anytime. Automated translations could help with shopping on foreign sites, and booking accommodation when on vacation. It’s the perfect companion while traveling or understanding a restaurant menu in a local diner.

Automated translation is beyond Google and Skype presently, there are a handful of Apps launched helping with visual translation within minutes. Most times, automated translations are the best for relatively simple text or short phrases while on-the-go.  

They save us time, money and unnecessary panicking we’ve been accustomed to when we see content in another language. The technological progress and efforts by developers have limited the need for human translators in many areas of communication at no cost.

Automated translation is on the rescue of pushing communication limitations in our world. These days, it leaves one with the thought, why should we learn new languages when we’ve got the tech for free.  

The Pitfall of Automated Translation

Despite being a great help for real-time translations, automated translation is no saint. The more you explore it, the further it reveals it’s a limitation to you openly. Presently, it’s grossly limited when applied in the world of business.

Accuracy and quality can never be overlooked in translation. In reality, these are the critical necessities in translation. The context, meaning, and style of every content can never be disregarded when handling translation.

A little push further into automated translation would display its inconsistency with the context in content. The gross misunderstanding of differences in context is quite damaging for results. An example is the French word “tirer” with several meanings and can be translated as “pull,” “pull down” or “draw” in English. However, the word “shoot” means “tirer” in French. It’s a complete fallout in lengthy text. A word can have several meanings, but the computer could pick the most irrelevant for translation.

Automated translation for business and technical writings could be a big blow. Misinformation and ambiguity come with its kind of translation.

Automated translations offer speed and easiness for real-time translations. Contrariwise,the pitfall here’s accuracy and misapprehensions.  Almost impossible for accurate translation.

Human Translation: The Good Old Way

For every existing language globally, there are native speakers available. These people are the current generation who would pass the heritage to coming generation word-for-word. They have an untainted grasp of the alphabets, phrases, and history that makes up a language. A few of these people take on the roles of Native translators in credentialed Translation Companies globally. 

Human translation serves a wide-ranging role beyond phrase-for-phrase synonymous with automated translations. A human translator might not be the right person while trying to translate a restaurant menu but indispensable on a 5000words product description targeted at foreigners. It’s for longer and deeper jobs.

Human translation understands the mix with content and context of every translation. Perfect understanding of why, what and how every translation should look like is solid. Entrusting real people with an end of the year message to foreign would reflect your mood in every word, and the context can never be flooded with irrelevant phrases or words at random. Human translations are the reflection of the original writer’s thought but transformed into a conceivable text for the receiver without misconceptions. Every word and alphabet is hardly misplaced.

It’s much extensive than automated translation any day, with convincing results in regards to accuracy and quality. Good translation gets desired responses which is great for business. It’s better by far.  The efficiency, quality, and understanding of writing style and purpose are superior to automation.

To Err is to Man

Human suffers similar fate with automation—being imperfect.  However, the tale is different. Being a Native Speaker of language never guarantee professionalism and dedication. Having the right mood on the job is proportional to translation quality. Human errors and imperfections are independent on being a native. Also, there’s a problem of being coherent with the context of the content you’re translating. Humans will always be humans. Sentiment, integrity, professionalism, and capacity are determining factors which could make or mar translations. It’s a long list.

The reality

It’s glaring to the eye that the duo are playing complementary roles. One reduces the time required for simple translations with less accuracy while the other offers better accuracy but requires timing. On the flip side, a few would think one would erase the other, but it’s a fallacy. Though we understand impossible is nothing with technology.

Nonetheless, the adoption of the two in everyday lives is comforting. Either or the two is less important. Acceptance is key. And that’s what expert translators with the best translation tools are doing here.

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