What Is Machine Translation?


Machine translation is performed entirely by a software program or application. Learn more about what machine translation is and how it can help you with your next translation project.  

What Are the Benefits of Machine Translation 

Machine translation brings distinct advantages to the translation process. Here are some of the benefits:  

1. Machine Translation is Faster 

When a project contains tremendous amounts of content, machine translation can translate it quickly. Machine translation is performed well before a human translator can complete an initial reading of the document. 

2. Machine Translation Easily Manages Large Amounts of Translation 

Machine translation software provides options to tackle multiple large projects simultaneously. It can easily handle translating a high volume of documents of various types with high accuracy and quality translations. 

3. Machine Translation Is Consistent 

One problem with manual translations is that translators will create distinct translations for the same material. This is natural and a part of language where each person’s language experience is slightly different from the other. However, it can create problems when dealing with corporate translations that need translation consistency throughout all materials. Because machine translation is based on a set program and utilizes program features like Translation Memory, Glossary and Normalization, you will always get a consistent and repeatable result.  

4. Machine Translation Is Less Expensive 

A good NMT software can cost you only a few cups of coffee per month. Machine translation. There is still a need for human translators to provide a quality check to the machine translation. However, it is less expensive to let human translators focus on polishing and refining a translation and in turn, let the initial steps be done with machine translation. 

History of Machine Translation : What Is Rule-Based Machine Translation? 

Grammatical and linguistic rules and language dictionaries are applied to what is known as rule-based machine translation. The software breaks apart a text and then uses lexicons that include grammatical rules and information about both languages’ morphological, syntactic, and semantic information. All of these rule sets help to identify the meaning and purpose of the initial text as well as the translation.  

Rule-based machine translation can have some difficulties with a lack of fluency in the translation and not be able to handle exceptions to the rules. This is most evident when trying to translate informal conversation where grammar rules are not strictly followed.

A gear to represent a machine and machine translation

Because rule-based machine translation is based on dictionaries and glossaries, users can improve the translation by adding their own terminology into the translation process. Specific industry terms and exclusive products within a company are added with user-defined dictionaries that override the default settings.  

What Is Statistical Machine Translation? 

Statistical machine translation builds off of rule-based translation but requires significantly more processing and computing power to complete. The basic foundation of statistical machine translation is that language has an inherent logic built into its grammar and structure. Because there is logic and reasoning in language, it’s possible to use statistics to help draw conclusions within translations.  

A computer showing a line graph to demonstrate statistical machine translation

Statistical machine translation is based on statistical models of language. This starts with a very large database of approved previous translations that is used to automatically deduce statistical models of translation between the languages. The database is built from manual human-translated texts as well as successful rule-based machine translation texts. This provides the data required to establish a probability-driven translation and improves the statistical translation process with each translation and text added to it. 

How Does Machine Learning Help Translation 

Machine learning is when programs can identify patterns, errors, and trends. One of the most relevant forms of machine learning is auto-complete when texting on your phone. At first, a phone will have difficulty completing your sentences, but after time it easily does so.  

A person standing in a room with blue wavy lines on the floor and wall

Machine learning helps translation software become more accurate by recognizing and improving on mistranslations. The more it is used, the more accurate machine learning software becomes at translating.  

 SYSTRAN provides quality machine translation with neural translation software and machine learning. Schedule a demo today to find out how SYSTRAN can provide quality machine translation services for your business.

Alexandre Translation Technology Specialist
3 Min Read
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