Chinese Translation By Human vs Machine Translation & Post-editing

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Progress is present in the translation world. While artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotics influence manufacturing, retail, industrial, and eCommerce sectors, the language industry keep up with the emerging technologies.  There’s no doubt that human translation is irreplaceable in specialized sectors such as law, finance, medicine, biotechnology, to name a few. But machine translation is becoming more popular among translation companies and agencies as well. So, will machine translation replace professional Chinese translators?  Here are the things you should know about human translation vs. machine translation (MT) and post-editing. 

Human Translation: the Gold Standard of the Language Industry

Professional translator’s work is the gold standard in any project. When translating texts in medicine, healthcare, pharmaceutical, and other specialized sectors, accuracy, precision, and understanding of culture are vital in delivering the final documents.  On top of that, targeted marketing campaigns require copywriting and transcreation to be more relevant and engaging with the audience. Thus, human Chinese copywriters are essentially important in the translation and localization processes. At the right time, the right words and contexts are crucial in all aspects of the campaigns. Therefore, human translators are irreplaceable because they are the only ones who can choose words carefully that make the texts as accurate and understandable as possible. In addition, they can fill the gaps such as words, expressions, and jargon that machine translation can’t solve or figure out. 

Machine Translation and Post-editing: Promising Results With Limited Use

Machine learning is carried out by software and programs specifically trained and designed for that purpose. It’s already being used in translation, like Google Translate, Bing Translate, and more. AI and neural networks power the final output of machine translations. MT had a bad reputation for years because of the inaccurate and weird translations. But with the development in AI, the results have improved. However, there are still a few hiccups on syntax and grammar, especially when translating difficult languages such as those in the Asian region, including Chinese.  But one can’t overlook the benefits of MT. Primarily, it’s low-cost and delivers a quick turnaround time, which helps translators get things done faster when combined with post-editing, the process of proofreading and editing the rough draft. However, MT can’t transcend the nuance, cultural differences, emotions, and expressions that human translators can detect and fix.  MT has entered the scene in the translation industry, and it serves as an aid for translators. Rather than being threatened by MT, professional translators and agencies are already using this through the combined efforts: MT’s output or raw texts and post-editing. Some translation companies and agencies handle pure human translators, while others handle and work on human translation and machine translation with post-editing. 

When to Use MTPE?

So, when do you use MT post-editing? If you only need to edit a few texts and require light editing, then MTPE is a good option because it’s cheaper. On the other hand, if you only need a rough literal translation of the texts, then linguists and translators can apply post-editing in different levels — light to heavy editing, depending on the requirements of the client until the texts sound and read naturally with correct grammar, syntax, and more. MTPE also saves time for those repetitive tasks and texts.  Specialized industries such as law, finance, medicine, and healthcare still need the “translation power” of the human mind. However, if you need basic website translation, then MTPE works as the linguists can proofread and apply light to heavy editing. In short, when the texts aren’t too complex, and it’s only for reading and comprehension for readers, MTPE may be an option. 

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