The Internet is full of software, apps and websites that readily offer all kinds of translations fast and free; we call them machine translators, or simply MT.
The question, though, is in regards to whether they are reliable, and whether or not they can replace human translators. Are they essentially no better than glorified dictionaries? This answer is actually a little more difficult to come by than it may at first seem, so let’s take a look at some numbers and facts and try to shed light on this question, shall we?
So, in order to throw some fun facts your way, I’ve got this lively little infographic, provided by the folks over at QuicklyTranslate.
Content, etymology and idiomatic knowledge are absolute essentials when it comes to accurate translations. Human translators have these skills; they know exactly whether they should paraphrase the text or translate it literally – that is to say metaphrase. That’s a serious point to humanity!
The world’s most used online translator, Google Translate, has a database of 103 languages. For those who love percentages, it’s only 1.5% of all living languages.
The point is that human translators do not have as many language limits, whereas machines currently do. Not everything in the garden is rosey, though, and human translation is time-consuming, and can cost a lot of money.
On average, the translation of 1 word equals to $0.11 USD, which means that the translation of a short 600-word article will cost you $66. Machine translations, on the other hand, are free and quick. Furthermore, you can access them 24/7.
Human translators can translate one language at a time while machines can translate multiple languages at once.
This is especially applicable for travelers.
In fact, Google Translate has been included on this list of Smartphone Apps for Travelers.
When talking about machine translations we all think of Google Translate first, For one thing, it is the most famous with more than 500 million users worldwide.
The dilemma of whether machine translation or human translation is superior is basically a matter of quality vs. quantity. You no longer need to hire an interpreter while traveling to Italy, Spain or French. All you need is an internet connection and a translation app.
However, using an online website to translate an important formal letter is not a good idea, and any businesses and large enterprises have been met with grisly circumstances while employing machine translation software – such as Google Translate.
What are your thoughts? Do you think that machine translation will one day overcome human translators due to advances in AI?
Leave a comment with your thoughts!