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Machine Translation VS Human Translation: Which is Best for your Company?

With more organizations going global, businesses and their operations rely heavily on translation. When taking their business abroad, companies usually consider translating their content into multiple languages to satisfy their international audience. But when it comes to choosing whether they need to go for a human or Machine translation, it might be a difficult choice. Let’s discuss Machine translation vs human translation and see which one works best for your business.

Machine Translation

Machine Translation is the process of using computers to translate one language known as the source into another one known as the target language without the involvement of people. Being rooted in the systems, the translation is done through complex algorithms, neural networks, or a mix of both. Today’s most well-known Machine Translation provider is Google translate, although there are several other services that are gaining popularity. Machine Translations are fast, scalable, and cost-effective. If you want to learn more about Machine Translation essentials, types and benefits, check it out here.

Human Translation

A human translation involves the manual translation of a text by one or more translators. Human translations are performed by native speakers or at the very least professionals fluent in the target language. Translators are subject matter specialists who are familiar with jargon and terminology in a way that Machine Translators are unable to. Human translators help to prevent costly errors as they have the capability to understand the context and have in-depth knowledge of the field.  Even the most field-specific details can be correctly translated thanks to human translators.


Machine Translation VS Human Translation

Both Machine Translation and human translations have their pros and cons. That is why when it comes to choosing how to do the translation the question arises: Machine Translation VS human translation.

Although Machine Translators cannot handle some of the most critical parts of translation, they do provide a number of advantages. Machine Translations are fast, cheap and scalable. Machine Translations help with cutting costs as the cost of human translation is many times more expensive than Machine Translation. And as machines translate any kind of content almost in no time, it helps to save time. As Machine Translation systems offer a wide range of languages to be translated, it is also an amazing way to translate your content into more languages than a professional translator can do.

So for companies who want to get translations in more languages, cut costs and save some time, and do not prioritize accuracy, Machine Translation is the way to go.

To sum up, Machine Translation systems help to:

  • Cut Costs.
  • Save Time.
  • Translate into multiple languages at once.

When a Machine Translation tool encounters a word or phrase that it can’t understand, it tends to ignore it. This is where human translation comes in since professional translators would use their own interpretation and experiences to pick up on linguistic nuances.  The main flaw with machines is that they translate everything literally. Unlike algorithms, human translators can identify the correct application of a word depending on context.

The benefit of human translation is the fact that they have the ability to think critically about the text and the context of the content. All languages have their own quirks and every culture has its own sayings that only make sense with context. Professional translators not only have an advanced command of both the target and source languages, but they also understand cultural differences and nuances. It makes the translation more accurate and natural-sounding. Translators are capable of understanding the nuance of idioms and humor cross-culturally. For instance, to say you are being deceived in English we might say, “You are pulling the wool over my eyes” and in Russian culture, the saying is “Hanging noodles on your ears”.


Human translators are aware that some words can have the same spelling yet mean different things. Machines that lack critical thinking skills are frequently fooled by whole homophones. For example, the term “lead” could imply “to guide someone”, can refer to a poisonous metal, and can also mean “the opening sentence of an article”, or “the top story on the local news”. When it comes to untranslatable vocabulary that Google Translate can’t handle, professional translators know how to manage it and explain it in terms that make sense.

To sum up, Professional Translators:

  • Understand the correct context of the content.
  • Correctly understand idioms, untranslatable words or phrases, and cultural references.
  • Correctly understand homonyms and translate them accordingly.

So what is the best solution for your company: Machine Translation vs human translation?

Machine Translation is for you if:

  • You are planning to translate content for a part of your business that is not currently generating a lot of money.
  • The text you are planning to translate is rather plain such as guidelines or instructions.
  • You are just getting started with an expansion or market testing and are not quite ready for the more difficult process of human translation.

Human Translation is for you if:

  • Translation accuracy is essential.
  • You have the time necessary.
  • The thought of being able to communicate with a live human being is appealing and/or important to you.
  • Your top priority is to create high-quality material, including localization and context.

Hybrid Translation Services

Sometimes hybrid translation could be the best choice for your company. A creative way to achieve the benefits of Machine Translation while also making sure of a certain level of accuracy is to have an extra editing step after  Machine Translation.  A professional editor evaluates and edits machine-translated information to verify the accuracy, as well as to make some adjustments for cultural accuracy, correct words and phrases, specialized terminology, and other factors.

Machine Translation has come a long way. With that said, in several situations, the human element of the translation is still required to ensure that the accuracy of communication is maintained.

If you need high-quality translation services for your business, contact Verbika to learn more about our translation services. We are here to help you choose the best option for your company.