When should Machine translation (MT) be used?


In the previous article we have discussed what is Machine Translation (MT), advantages and disadvantages of MT and types of MT, if you missed it, check it now!

Let’s discuss a different aspect of machine translation (MT), which is when translation memory should be applied?

As we’ve agreed in the previous article, nothing is totally bad or good. Anything has advantages, disadvantages and all depends on how it is used. Thus, translation memory could provide good results when you know how to use it.

When to Use Machine Translation (MT) and when not?

  • Budget:

If you have a too low budget, so you cannot afford hiring a translator or dealing with a translation agency. In this case, translation memory will be your only option as it is usually online and for free. But always remember that you get what you pay for.

  • Language combination:

The more common the language is, the more efficient the MT solution will be. In other words, you will surely find that languages such as English, French and Italian will be more accurate in use than minority, regional, endangered, or heritage languages.

  • The subject matter:

Translation memory provides a literal translation; thus it will be the best option when you have a general text that will accept a literal translation. Otherwise, there are a lot of fields such as medical, legal, political and technical translations the result of using translation memory on them will be a real disaster.

  • The text size:

Machine Translation will be a good option if you have a large project that will cost you a lot if you submitted it to a translation agency or a translator, so MT could be used here as an option to translate your text on it and to give it back to a translation agency to give it a review instead of working from scratch on it.

  • Grammar and style:

You must know that when Machine Translation is used; grammar, structure and style are in a huge risk. Thus, when you have a text that is challenging in the structure or style, you better hire a translation agency as TM will end up in a disaster.

  • Time restrictions:

One of the most important features of Machine Translation is how fast it works. If you have an urgent project; your option is to go for MT and give it back to a translation agency to review it.

Finally, the choice is all yours and you must pay for what you choose. Make sure that quality always matters, so if you can afford a translation agency go for it and always make Translation Memory (MT) your second option.

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