When it comes to translating texts, machine translation software is now a credible option for businesses. Affordable, fast and constantly evolving, it offers a number of benefits for various industries with different translation needs.
What is machine translation?
Machine translation (MT), or automatic translation, is a raw translation produced entirely by a computer program. This can either be treated as the final translation, or a specialist linguist can step in towards the end to refine the text. This is known as machine translation post-editing (MTPE). Because the main translation phase is computerised, MT can increase productivity by up to 70% depending on the quality.
It is important to note here that MT is different to computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools. While MT produces an entire translation without the need for human interaction, CAT tools only recall similar words, phrases and sentences from previous translations. The CAT tool only supports the translator as they work through the text, improving the quality of the human translation by ensuring consistency of terminology.
Neural machine translation for high-quality results
Since MT requires no human input, it provides a fast and affordable alternative for many businesses in various industries. Although it once had a reputation for producing low-quality translations, a smarter type of MT has now emerged known as neural machine translation (NMT). This uses an artificial neural network to predict the likelihood of a sequence of words, typically modelling entire sentences in a single integrated model. By training these neural networks with human translations, the quality of output constantly improves and can often achieve high-quality results.
With machine translations reaching high levels of accuracy, this has led to an evolution within the machine translation industry. As the level of accuracy continues to increase, we are constantly finding new applications for this technology. Today, the automotive, manufacturing, healthcare and military and defense sectors are the primary end-users of MT technology.
Read on to learn just some of the applications of machine translation for businesses in various industries.
MT and MTPE are both incredibly useful tools for technical texts. Technical texts often contain simple sentences with specialist terminology repeated throughout, and MT is perfect in this regard. Since technical writing is typically easy to understand and often repetitive, it is easy for MT software to handle and keep your terminology consistent.
With an additional post-editing phase, a specialist linguist will help to refine the grammar and spelling for a text that is cohesive and coherent. This post-edited content can then be used to train custom MT engines for your projects, saving you time and increasing consistency across all future projects.
Request for proposals and tender documentation
For competitive tendering, time is of the essence when responding to a request for proposal (RFP). If the bid is in a foreign language, then a translation agency specialising in machine translation services for RFPs could help you win the contract. With machine translation, we can have all competitive bid documents translated in just a few hours. This gives you all the information you need so that you can act as quickly as possible and increase the chances of securing the contract.
Using MT technology, we deliver fast and affordable translations for tender documentation and proposals in all European, Asian and non-Latin script languages. Our machine translation platform instantly translates paragraphs and documents of any size and format, including PDFs and web pages. This leaves the original formatting and structure intact, keeping your translation professional.
If you need the accuracy of a human translation, then we also use MT to support our translators and maintain consistency when handling tight deadlines. We do this by using machine translation to create a glossary of key terms taken from your RFP documents early in the translation process. This verified termbase can then be loaded into the translator’s computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools for a faster human translation that maintains accuracy and consistency.
Contracts, policies, confidentiality agreements and court transcripts are just some of the legal documents needed to carry out business. Volume is often one of the biggest challenges when it comes to translation within the legal sector, which is where MT comes into play. Machine translation technology can help law firms and corporate legal departments understand and process large quantities of legal documents quickly.
Machine translation can handle most of the volume, but there is no margin for error in legal translations. When dealing with legal matters, it is essential that the translated texts accurately convey the meaning, structure and terminology of the original document. This is where NMT can really shine, providing fast legal translations without sacrificing quality.
At Intertranslations, we have trained our custom NMT networks using over 25 years of human translations. This allows us to deliver fast, high-quality translations created especially for handling legal content and terminology.
The digital nature of an e-commerce business makes it much easier to grow into new markets and countries. This international expansion is now a fundamental strategy for any retailer looking to grow their profit margins, broadening their audience to increase sales.
To make the most of this international potential, every piece of content on an e-commerce site should be translated into the target customers’ native language. This will not only give a wider audience access to your products or services but will also inspire trust.
Thanks to the sheer volume of online content and the standardised structure of websites, e-commerce sites are a perfect candidate for automatic translation software. MT is also ideal for creating targeted advertising campaigns, which follow a set structure and can help boost your exposure in a new market. MT allows businesses to break down language barriers with relative ease, helping grow your brand awareness in new markets and increase sales.
Another instance where MT technology shines is during fraud investigations. Fraud can impact businesses of every industry in both the private and public sectors. These businesses can either be victims of fraud themselves, or a fraudster could be using their name to scam unsuspecting individuals.
When a company suspects any fraudulent activities, they will carry out a fraud investigation to gather evidence and protect the company from any possible damage. Translation services often play large roles during these investigations by helping companies find and solve possible scams and unethical behaviour.
MT technology is ideal for catching fraudulent behaviour early on, translating emails quickly and cheaply. By taking this step in the early stages, companies can reduce the financial and reputational damage that might happen. If any emails are identified as key to the investigation, the translations can then be checked and certified by the translation agency.
Machine translation vs human translators
Both MT and human translation have their benefits and drawbacks. Machine translation is faster than its human counterpart, but in terms of quality, it is not always the most reliable method of translation. It can often be incomprehensible and filled with errors. If you need high-quality texts for publication, then you will need to use human translators who understand the subtleties of both languages.
However, MT is an incredibly useful tool when paired with human intuition. For best results, a machine translation should be checked and edited by a post-editor who will proofread and correct the machine-generated text. They will fix any grammar and spelling mistakes, as well as any misinterpretations. Post-editors can also modify any stylistic elements to make sure the right terminology and tone of voice are being used.
Using specialist MT systems
Many businesses are also relying more on industry giants like Google Translate and Microsoft Translator. While these can provide near-accurate translations instantly, one small error in meaning or terminology could have drastic consequences. Many companies in various industries require specialist knowledge, data and terminology for their translations to be accurate and relevant. In this case, generic translators will struggle to deliver quality because their machine-learning models are trained on generic data.
A professional translator dedicates years of his life to understanding the intricate nuances of a language. At Intertranslations, we have created an exclusive, custom-built machine translation engine that we have trained using 25 years of texts produced by professional human translators. Featuring over a million segments, this allows us to deliver custom results for each client.
Our bespoke MT engines are tailored to each individual client’s language pairs and industry, providing accurate translations of any technical terminology. With this technology, you can upload your document in any format—PDF, Word, PowerPoint or Excel—and receive an instant translation. The translated document also keeps any graphics and technical drawings intact for a professional target text.
For added protection and confidence in our services, all our systems and processes are fully GDPR compliant. Our security measures also follow ISO 27001 standards and Cyber Essentials procedures for information security, so you can rest assured your documents are well protected.
The bottom line
Machine Translation (MT) is fast becoming an essential tool within the translation industry because it saves time, reduces costs and increases productivity. Even so, it still has some way to go before matching the quality of human translation. With this in mind, the best solution is to combine machine translation with a human post-editor. This will give you the speed of a machine with the accuracy of a human linguist for optimal results.