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Machine Translation – A real threat to human translation ?

Machine Translation – A real threat to human translation ?

can machine translation replace human translation


Machine translation is taking the world by storm. Now that we have acknowledged that, let’s dive in a bit into how far machine translation has come until today. Back in old days, machine translation was notorious. It was below basic and offered nearly no value whatsoever. There are some instances where machine translation caused even more harm than good. For instance, ” In September 2017, The Norwegian news agency NRK reported that Statoil, Norway’s state oil company found out that sensitive information—contracts, workforce reduction plans, dismissal letters, and more—were available online because employees had used a free online translation tool, which stored the data in the cloud” So besides the fact that it didn’t deliver coherent translations, it posed a huge threat to privacy.

With technology revolutionizing all types of businesses, machine translation has come a long way. Today there is this most recent advanced type of MT that relies on a wide artificial neural network which is built mainly on predicting the likelihood of words sequence. Meaning that context is taken into consideration more than it was before.


Machine Translation, does it jeopardize human utilization?


Now we are down to the most important question. Does this high tech MT pose a real threat to human translation business? Is it meant to hinder and eventually replace an industry that has been blooming for decades?

Let’s put it this way, companies that neglect how fast technology is marching towards replacing humans will definitely face some real troubles.

So really the answer is, it is an opportunity as much as it is a threat. Wondering how? Well, let’s talk you through how involving MT used to be like back in the days. In its early times, MT was all about manipulating context instead of delivering a well-put-together piece. Consequently, MT post editing used to be a draining job. It was very daunting for translators to do a re-translation for a piece of work that is all over the place with context that is very much disfigured.


Now that Neural machine translation uses a different approach which we can say is almost, only almost, as close as it gets to human logic, it is somewhat reasonable now for translation agencies to start promoting MT post editing and for translators to take on the job while content.


Of course the aforementioned perspective only applies to certain fields. With sensitive materials or art work for example, machine translation is not to be touched. Are we saying though that Neural machine translation offers native quality? The answer is definitely no.


Yet again, people seeking translations of acceptable quality can resort to Neural machine translation, while those looking for a polished piece of work with affordable prices can choose MT post editing service. In that manner, human work and technology can walk hand in hand. It is not something that we should resist or deny its value. It is rather a step towards a technology driven human work.


If you are wondering whether machine translation post editing is cut out for your needs, or it is native human translation that you need, contact us, we know the ins and outs.

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