Why should I Pay for a Machine Translation?

When you think of machine translation, it’s impossible not to think of Google Translate. As well all know, this machine translation tool – like others today – is free. It’s therefore common for us to receive questions such as,

“What’s the difference between Google Translate and the machine translation service you’re offering me?”

There are several reasons why one is free and the other is not. The quality of the service and the quality of the final product offered by a translation agency’s machine translation service are quite different from those of Google Translate.
We can all agree that Google Translate is obviously a very useful tool, which can be of great help in certain situations. You can read about its advantages in the post we’ve written about it.
However, in this post, we’ll take a more detailed look at the differences between free machine translation engines and a translation agency’s machine translation service, to explain why it’s worth paying for a machine translation.

Difference no. 1 – Processing of documents

Free machine translation engines can’t be used to translate a document. You can only translate the text contained in a file by copying and pasting it. This produces a translation consisting of unformatted text which is not in document form. The machine translation service used by a translation agency produces a ready-to-go document, in the same format as the original document, for example Excel, PowerPoint, or even PDF.

Difference no. 2 – Word count

Even if you have a simple text file, if the word count is high, you’ll have to copy and paste text into the machine translation engine several times. After clicking TRANSLATE, you’ll then have to copy and paste the translated text back into the file, meaning you run the risk of skipping part of the text or deleting a section by mistake. This is because most free machine translation engines don’t accept more than five thousand characters in one go.

Difference no. 3 – Artificial intelligence

Professional machine translation engines use artificial intelligence and neural technology to translate. Engineers specialised in machine learning are needed to ensure that the results are increasingly similar to human translations. The translations offered by free engines are achieved on the basis of statistical selections. It boils down to the difference between a text that has been translated word-for-word, and a text translated by sets of words, taking context into account.

Difference no. 4 – The advantages of a dedicated team combined with those of cutting-edge technology

Depending on the service you choose, you can add several extra processes to machine translation when you go through an agency. An experienced project manager assesses whether the original text needs processing before the translation phase, and adds the client’s translation memories to the engine to ensure consistency. In the pre-editing phase, a professional linguist revises the original text and resolves language-related problems before the translation engine tries to resolve them. After machine translation, a translator re-writes the less coherent passages and consults the client’s glossary to keep the text consistent. A reviser then carries out quality-control checks, ensuring that all the previous phases have produced a natural-sounding text. You can choose how many humans are involved in your project, but there’ll always be at least one.

Difference no. 5 – Confidentiality

When you get a machine to translate your text, you’re using non-secure Internet links to upload the text to the service provider’s servers, from which you can never delete it.

Difference no. 6 – Speed and reliability

By choosing a professional translation agency’s machine translation service, you’re asking a trusted agency to take care of your project within a shorter timeframe, to meet that “impossible” deadline, but without risking everything or spending a fortune.

These are all reasons why choosing to go through a translation agency for machine translation makes more sense, even if it involves investing a little capital.
If you need help machine-translating a text for yourself or for your company, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by clicking here.