Machine Translation, the future? Of course – not!

Machine translation

Translation technology continues to develop and advance. Some people we talk to at events ask us if we’re worried about the advance of machine translation and if we think it will take over our jobs in the future. The answer we give them is no!

The main reason we’re not worried is because robots still don’t understand the nuances of language such tone of voice or sarcasm – like in the title of this post! With Amazon announcing their plans to rival the current Google Translate offering we thought it was time to discuss it on our blog.

Language is human

The main reason why machine translation is unlikely to ever completely replace human translators is the fact that language is inherently human and is always evolving. Unlike machines, the translators we use have undertaken qualifications to be able to translate efficiently, so the result is fit for purpose and its audience, and not just a literal, word-for-word translation. Their experience and specialities set them apart from other human translators and miles apart from machines. As they’re all members of professional associations, in their respective countries, they keep up to date with the evolution and local trends of their native and source languages in a way a translation program would struggle with.

For example, if translating a medical survey for respondents on a UK-wide drug trial, translators would know to localise different words to describe the extent of physical symptoms such as nausea. For those in the East of England the standard ‘gag’ or ‘retch’ would be used whereas in the West Country the word ‘urge’ would be understood over the former. In Scotland the standard expression is ‘boke’. It’s this detail of localisation where translators could make efficient decisions, based on the information provided to them such as the audience, but machines would fall short.

Turnaround time and cost

An apparent benefit of using machine translation is the reduced cost and turnaround times, but how much time and money is spent on proofreading and fixing machine translations? And how many mistakes slip through the net? The more issues there are in a translation, the more likely it is that they’ll be missed by an only-too-human proofreader. A proofreader checking an already more accurate and well-written translation will have a better chance of spotting any possible mistakes as there aren’t as many to spot.

The Language Factory office is full of employees, Project Managers in particular, who are passionate about language and delivering high quality translations. We’d never want to risk accuracy and consistency for the sake of time and money but we know these factors are important to our clients. That’s why we work with them to make sure all projects are as efficient as they can be, choosing from our pool of qualified translators for the best match in terms of quality and timings. Our extensive experience means we ask clients the right questions so we’re able to deliver accurate work first time round. This also saves money and time post-delivery because our translations are ready to use, without the need for rounds of revisions, and will include any brand-specific terminology preferences.

At The Language Factory we don’t charge extra for our Project Management service which includes linguistic expertise to degree level, responsive and clear communication to keep you informed and pre-delivery checks as standard. Our clients frequently feed back about our efficient customer service and quality translations which help them save time and avoid hassle during the translation process. Why not give us a call on +44 1727 862722 today to see how our service sets us apart or send us your project details by e-mailing


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