Should Machine Translation Be Reducing Your Translation Costs?

machine translation

Language professionals often hear people say, “in a few years we’ll no longer need translators” or “now computers can translate even better than a human”. There’s no denying that machine translation or “MT” has improved by leaps and bounds over the past couple of years. Translators are well aware of the role that MT plays and will continue to play within the translation process, and have adapted their way of working according to changes in technology.

How do these changes affect you as an international company with translation and localization needs? There is a strong economic advantage brought by the use of MT in translation, promising a reduction in market prices for a greater number of language combinations and sectors. So, should you already be paying less? Find out more below…

Machine translation can save your business time and money

Many agencies have already decided to cut costs (and reduce translation rates) by using PEMT or Post-Edited Machine Translation. Hate it or love it, this process is already commonplace in many professional translation companies, saving clients money and – ideally – saving translators time. Neural machine translation now works so well for popular language combinations that it can either be used as a base for translators to work from, in platforms such as Memsource, or can even be used as a complete translation which a translator will then review as a proofreader, correcting inevitable errors and improving fluency. The former helps save translators time, therefore providing quick, accurate translations. The latter saves agencies money by paying translation professionals at reduced rates, therefore providing a cheaper service for clients.

So if MT is supposed to improve efficiency, why haven’t we seen an immediate decrease in prices? This is because many agencies remain unconvinced of the merits of MT, preferring to stick to established, tried-and-tested translation methods at the usual industry rates. This comes as no surprise, as MT is more adapted to certain types of texts than others, and if not used correctly can waste translators’ time rather than optimizing it.

Professional linguists and machine translation: a match made in heaven?

MT must be used correctly to increase efficiency, cost-effectiveness and fluency. Each agency will find an MT strategy that works for them and their clients’ needs, depending on their main sectors of operation. Some may find a way that works for them, some not. If a professional translation agency has in fact optimized their MT strategy and has achieved reductions in costs, the final client may not yet be seeing these reductions as the market is not yet demanding it.

The key to benefitting from this new technology is to find the perfect balance of human and machine. While post-editing certainly does save time, the original text remains written by a machine. For certain texts such as marketing campaigns or legal documents, the only way to achieve fluency is a full human translation and proofreading. However, with the right approach, a strong MT engine, and a team of certified language professionals, certain documents can be translated quickly and at very attractive rates.

How we use MT to improve our service at BeTranslated

Here at BeTranslated we’ve streamlined our working process to provide you with a modernized, efficient yet human language service. We use MT to provide a base for our translators to work from. They may choose to use MT-translated text or not, depending on the nature of the project. This can save translators valuable time and allows for greater quality control.  While the source document is analyzed using the most intelligent and accurate of MT engines, our human translators are always the final eye on any translated text and are free to keep, edit or totally re-write the automatic translation.

Our specialized translators take pride in their work and are dedicated to the art of translation. We believe that their human touch cannot be replaced by MT, but (when used correctly) can be greatly improved in terms of productivity and translation quality, allowing for shorter deadlines and larger projects. This all contributes to our agency being able to offer a high standard of quality at competitive rates.

Looking to translate a PDF document or a contract into Chinese? Planning to launch a new marketing campaign in France? The options are endless with BeTranslated and our team of project managers and specialized linguists are always happy to help. Any questions about our rates? Looking for a free quote? Get in touch today!