Google Translate versus Human Translation Services
Updated: Feb 11, 2019
How good is Google Translate?
Google Translate is a very popular online translation service used by millions. It can translate texts and websites in a pretty good way. If you need to just have a brief overview of what the viewed text is all about the Google tool is undoubtedly the perfect solution in your case. You can also translate documents using the drag and drop feature in the software.
Most of translations done by the global search engine online translator are more or less acceptable and can very well convey the meaning of the original, so you don’t need to guess so much as to what it is literally saying. It gives you a pretty much robust but clear conversion of the source text in the target language. It means that you can actually use it for quick and instant translation without so much loosing the clue and the main idea. Some of the translations made by Google can be even used for official works.
Even though Google translates texts of different subjects, e.g. legal, medical, business, and technical fields, still it is far from being perfect for specific translations in engineering, technology, Hi-Tech, aerospace, literature, or in politics. All the professional translations have to be done by professional human translator, not by machine, whatever well it translates. The machine translation will never (unless it shares the human thoughts) be able to replace the translations performed by professional translation company or freelance translator.
What is Google Translate?
Google translate is a software with a database stored on a “big server”. How could it happen that Google came to be so smart and clever? The answer is on the surface. Any software or any digital product is made by… - right – humans! It is a human invention like any other inventions and digital products. But how come it can translate so well and fine? Does it have a brain or anything like in AI? Yes, in a sense, it does. It has a brain – server with a database and the proprietary software, which makes it clever. Where did Google learn to translate? It (or the developers) took all the ready made translations (or matches) from translations done by millions of translators. But how? Easy!
It has been accessing the cloud databases used by translators working online and cloud solutions of the popular and major software like SDL Trados. It just accumulated the historical data with matches, made the best selection among hundreds of options and generated something unique like Google Translate.
Where and how can we use Google Translate?
It can be used for minor and general translations, for brief overview of the selected text or for getting the general idea of what the website is speaking about. It can also help the translator at some point and at a certain time when he needs to process large volume of text. In that case he can do the post-editing after Google translation and correct all errors made by Google.
What is Post-editing?
Post-editing is a modern service that came into existence after the emerging of machine translations. The translated text shall be subject to editing by human translator for correction of any errors and making the final text sound and look professional both in grammar, terminology, syntax, and style. As far as the machine translation is concerned you cannot go so far as to replace the human linguist. You can only help him in some way and facilitate the process of translation, but not substitute his translation services.
How Good is the Human Translation?
Human translation takes a little bit more time and money but it will definitely repay you a hundredfold in any way. Any machine translation was done by humans too some time ago. And now it is used as an example and as an aggregate of the so called machine translation. All the inputs and phrases were written by linguists. The software just collects them all and enters whenever the similar or the same key words or combinations of words come up. So there is actually no magic and no fancy artificial intelligence as such. Just tricks with ready-made samples of translations done by humans and software programmed for matching the words and phrases.
It costs a little more than a few bucks…
Some public people say that translation costs penny. It is far from the truth, of course, but for those countries where any labor as such costs really cheap. But it is not so for USA, UK, or Europe, where the work done by humans is valued and paid respectively. Yes, you can hire a freelancer from India, Bangladesh or Brazil and get a pretty cheap translation. But I can tell you that you can encounter a serious problem with quality when requesting for cheap translations. So, the human translation should be professional and well paid. The hi-tech projects may cost millions if not billions of Euros or USD dollars and why should the responsible working of people doing the conversion between languages for that project cost a few bucks? No way!
The professional work has a high value or should have a high value.
So, in view of the above, it is your choice to select between machine and human translation. You should just keep in mind that any machine working is the result of the hard work of human translators. Have a safe business!
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