Machine Translation and Human Post-Editing: How it Works

Have you ever needed a translation service for your business but felt there wasn’t enough time for the project to be done well? Some companies or clients sometimes need to translate corporate documents, marketing materials, or legal content quickly, and it’s almost impossible that this work will be done on time.

If you’re in this situation right now, don’t be afraid! Let’s discuss machine translation systems with personalized post-editing features and their benefits. And maybe when you finish reading this article, you may hire a machine translation service without losing the quality of your project. So, let’s start!


What is Machine Translation, and What Does it Involve?

Machine translation (MT) is fully automated software that can translate the source content into target languages without human interaction. This type of translation aims to translate a text naturally, trying to substitute the human translator without losing the quality or context of the text.

When the machine translator software is processing the text, the target language (the translation) must show the same meaning as the source language. This software must adjust the source terminology and context of each sentence in the translation without affecting the quality of the final product.

The possibility of offering machine translation services comes from the client’s need for an urgent translation. Translators aren’t robots that work through 40,000 words a day, and machine translation software was created to facilitate translation and deadlines. If the translation’s complete, that’s all that matters… right?

Unfortunately, machine translations are nowhere near as accurate as human translations. That’s why human translators need to edit machine translations in a process called “post-editing.” To learn more about the drawbacks of machine translation, check out our article: Professional Translation Services vs. Google Translation Hub: Which is Better?

For a machine translation to be successful, translators must perform exhaustive edits to computer-translated content. When the translator checks the translations made by the MT, they must ensure that the glossary is included in the software and the source text is appropriately written so the MT can translate it correctly, verify the quality of the text, and fix any errors made by the MT. Errors are then registered to provide feedback to the software.

What are the Benefits of Machine Translation?

machine translation vs professional translation


Although many people think machine translation isn’t good, some translation agencies use it to facilitate their processes and provide a high-quality service. These are some of the benefits of machine translation with human post-editing:


Machine translation is far less expensive than professional translation services since instead of paying for a translator’s time, clients pay to use translation software. This helps translation agencies and translators decrease translation costs and improve work time, allowing them to take on more projects at once. For clients, lower translation costs are much more appealing as well.


Machine translation works fast. This means that human translators will ultimately spend less time translating content and more time editing, effectively reducing project turnaround times.


Without post-editing, machine translations aren’t very accurate. However, adding post-editing services elevates a machine translation’s quality tenfold. Unlike humans, machine translators cannot consider the source content’s tone, specific terminology, or emotional intent. So, the addition of human editing will ensure your translations are completed quickly and accurately.

Overall, MT is a good option for texts that use colloquial language; technical texts like manuals, reports, corporate documents, and other informational content that don’t use specific jargon or need to convey complex emotions are best. But sometimes, the post-editing process takes more time than the translation because of the text type.


Have a Project in Mind?

Quality is essential, and translators are always aware of their assigned projects. Consider hiring a machine translation service and human post-editing if you need a technical translation. If you try it, this may be a great option. At Traduality, we can match you with vetted professional translators who are experts in post-editing so that your content stays as accurate as possible. To get started, create your first project today and find vetted translators, or book a meeting with us to learn more about your specific needs.  

Updated 2/21/2024. 

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