​Computer Assisted Translation vs. Machine Translation

​Computer Assisted Translation vs. Machine Translation

For many people when they think about translation, they just have in their mind cutting and pasting text into Google Translate on their phone or laptop and seeing what comes up. In reality, although this can be a useful tool for single words and simplistic phrases (though even then it can be hit and miss), accurate and reliable translation is a human process that takes time to become skilled in.

For many people when they think about translation, they just have in their mind cutting and pasting text into Google Translate on their phone or laptop and seeing what comes up. In reality, although this can be a useful tool for single words and simplistic phrases (though even then it can be hit and miss), accurate and reliable translation is a human process that takes time to become skilled in.

Our translators have the linguistic knowledge and cultural experience to produce accurate and natural translations, but also work with CAT (Computer Aided Translation) tools to improve consistency and cost/time efficiency.

Here we take a look at the differences between the two:

Computer Assisted Translation – CAT tools take human-made translations and store them in a database (a Translation Memory – TM). This gives support to translators in making consistent use of terminology and notifies them of when they have translated an identical or similar term/sentence previously. This is particularly useful for texts of a repetitive nature or which are regularly updated and republished. The software allows translators to make the most of old translations, making the process quicker and cheaper for our clients while increasing quality through improved consistency.

Machine Translation – Google Translate and other machine translation engines also rely on a database in which the very first instance of a translation will be human-made. However, these are only used as a basis to train the translation engine and any new texts are translated using a statistical or rule-based approach, taking information from different sources and putting together a sentence that should make sense but very often isn’t quite accurate or natural-sounding enough.

For long pieces of text, machine translation isn’t sufficient as it would not be an accurate enough method. It also wouldn’t take into account cultural differences, dialect and nuances in context that are important and which only a human translator could pick up on. Wessex Translations has a team of translation experts who understand how to best utilise CAT tools to give you the most accurate translation at a competitive price.

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