In the past, we used dictionaries in order to find out the meaning of a foreign word. This took up a lot of time, as well as considerable effort, in order to determine which meaning you needed exactly. Moreover, if you needed a translation of a paragraph or an article, it could prove to be very difficult, since each word has several meanings.
Nowadays, there are many technologies that make our life easier and simpler. For example, automated translation is a very useful tool. It is also known as computer-assisted translation. This is in relation to the use of computer programs that were specifically designed for translation of oral and written texts from one language to another. In the global world, there is a very high demand for such tools, and many people only ever see its advantages. In reality, the machine translation systems have their own advantages and drawbacks.
Here are some of their advantages:
Machine translation saves time and should be used when time is of the essence. You don’t have to spend several hours on browsing dictionaries. Instead, the program translates the text and presents a ready translation to the user.
In addition, machine translation doesn’t cost much. In the long-term perspective, it pays off quickly, because it allows to lessen the translation costs. The thing is – work of a professional translator is evaluated in direct proportion to the number of pages, and the cost of automated translation is determined in a different way.
Machine translation allows for maintaining confidentiality of data. If you hand important data to a translator, in a certain way you’re taking a risk. If you’re using a program installed on your very own computer, the risks are much lower.
Normally, automated translation systems work with a multitude of languages, whereas translators specialize in one or two language pairs.
Disadvantages of machine translation systems:
Accuracy can vary in quite a wide spectrum. Usually, you receive a draft of the document, because the program can only translate word-for-word. It has to be edited manually.
Normally, the program uses formal rules and doesn’t take context and possible multiple meanings into account.
These advantages and disadvantages appear irrespective of the translated document’s original language. When choosing an instrument for translation, you must take into account the speed and translation accuracy requirements, as well as financial means.