Machine Translation vs Human Translation vs MTPE

Machine Translation vs Human Translation vs MTPE

As a global business, companies need top-notch translation to reach out to millions of audiences in the world. With the development of technology, translation has transformed to address certain issues. The birth of machine translation boosted translation speed however, human translation still wins in terms of accuracy. What about MTPE? It boasts both speed and accuracy.

Machine Translation vs Human Translation

The first machine translation service became publicly available in 1992. However, before this, in the 1950s scientists already had a breakthrough in translation technology.

Machine translation engine is a software that automatically translates text or audio from a source language to a target language to easily provide translations to those who are in need. Throughout the years, machine translation became popular to the public. They use machine translation to communicate to people from the other side of the world.

Social media applications also use MT engines to help their users connect to more people around the globe. However, as good as it sounds, it also has its downsides.

The Good and The Bad of Machine Translation and Human Translation

Machine translation has its pros and cons. It was developed to increase efficiency and reduce time spent in human translation. However, despite what it brings to the table, it still lacks in a lot of aspects that human translation fills.

Reduce Time Spent

The development of machine translation pushed the boundaries of translating languages. With a few clicks, you can easily get the translation from the source language to the target language. 

Unlike with human translation where everything is done manually, translating a sentence manually will take a lot of time comparing it to a machine translation.


Machine translation lessens the cost of translation due to its efficiency. Reducing translation time means more time to translate more texts. Most translators receive compensation based on the number of words. It becomes expensive once you have a lot of texts for translation. 

Multiple Target Languages

With MT engines, you can use the same engine to output multiple languages from the same source. It helps reduce the amount of work that needs to be done especially if the translation is urgent. 

Human translators usually specialize in either a language or an industry. In order for you to translate your source material to multiple languages, you must contact multiple translators for it.

Inaccurate Translation

The expert knowledge of a human translator cannot be compared to a MT engine. An MT engine is limited in terms of collected data and information processing. 

Human translators can do a much better job with accuracy in translation. Humans can immerse themselves with the culture and update their vocabulary based on the current target language’s trends and fads.

Unnatural Sounding

Customers may understand the point of your translation in their native language however, if it sounds unnatural, it becomes a factor to a missed opportunity for conversion. Machine translation will translate the text according to its limited data thus it will sound unnatural especially when it includes jargons and colloquial terms.

A human translator who can speak and understand the target language is at an advantage when it comes to localizing a source material. Once a translator is immersed with the culture, language, and lifestyle of the target language, it becomes easier for them to translate it, sounding naturally to the ears of a native speaker. 

Wrong Message Delivered

It can be a gamble to use MT engines for translating brand identity. It becomes risky once it’s translated into the target language since it might come across as a different message than what is intended. This is especially true for marketing and creative translations. The messages change their meaning when translated into a different language especially for highly-contextual languages.

Human translators tweak the message to avoid sounding so literal to a native speaker. Using idioms and their creative flavor, they can make the source material more interesting and invite potential audiences for conversion.

Machine Translation Post-Editing (MTPE)

What is Machine Translation Post-Editing? It is the best of both worlds. It combines the  great features of machine translation with the touch of a human hand. This brings in both speed and accuracy in translation. The translator fills in the gaps that machine translation created. 

According to studies, human translators become much more accurate and efficient with the help of machine translation and vice-versa. This becomes advantageous to both parties, the client and the translation service provider. With less time and more work done, it decreases the cost and increases the accuracy.

Undoubtedly, MTPE also contributes much more to the translation community. However, it is also without its shortcomings. Machine Translation Post-Editing can fall short for a lot of creative and literary translations. Projects such as comic, webtoon, and manga translation can be difficult to translate because the machine translation engine will create a simplified version of the source material without accounting for the nuances and cultural differences. Thus, for creative and literary translations, it is still better to go for the high road. Choosing quality over quantity.

Which Translation Process is the Best?

There are multiple types of translation materials. There are translations for internal business purposes, public-facing documents, and even creative and literary translations. For these, choose carefully the best translation for the source material you are trying to translate.

CREATIVE CONNECTIONS & COMMONS INC. provides stellar translation services for every industry out there. CCC offers multilingual translation services in over 30 languages worldwide. Pick the best translation service for you. Create a new story with CCC!

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