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Written by Montserrat González

Montserrat is a professional translator who likes to read and write fictional stories. There's nothing she enjoys more than spending time with her friends and family.

March 26, 2021

What Is Machine Translation and What Are Its Types?

If you are familiar with the translation industry, you’ve probably heard about machine translation. It surely has its benefits and limitations, but as we are professionals in this matter, it is important to let you know what it is and how it works.

Machine translation(MT) is an automated translation of a text to another language by the use of software, without the need for human intervention. This type of translation doesn’t require a specialist in the process as the software has its own dictionaries and grammar rules that allow it to perform the translation on its own.

There are three types of machine translation: rule-based machine translation, statistical machine translation, and neural machine translation. In this article, I will share with you a short description of each type of machine translation and I will mention the differences between this type of translation and the traditional translation.


Rule-Based Machine Translation

Rule-based machine translation is the one that uses linguistic rules and bilingual dictionaries to generate the translation of a text. This software requires a great number of elements for execution. It also requires constant updating since is not possible for it to translate things that are not found in dictionaries.


Statistical Machine Translation

Statistical machine translation uses the analysis of a great number of bilingual texts and the correct relation between one word to another in a different language. This type of translation requires software that is capable of “learning”, through analysis, which is the best option for a translation according to the type of text. It is one of the most popular machine translations, however, the program requires a large corpus to work properly, because if there are too few texts, the resulting translation may not be accurate.


Neural Machine Translation

Neural machine translation has software that tries to imitate, by using “deep learning”, the operation of the human brain to make translations. It is similar to statistical machine translation in the way that the program “learns”, however, this one goes far by creating relations like a human, managing to create effective translations as a result. This type of translation requires more specialized programs, which are not accessible to anyone.


Machine Translation vs Human Translation

Now, machine translation is faster than human professional translators, and this is one of the main reasons why many companies want to get this type of software, in order to avoid depending on external people. Is this the wiser decision? Will machines and programs be in charge of translation now?

We have to remember that speed does not mean quality. Translation is not just about changing word into equivalents A good translation does not just maintain the essence of the text, it also requires an extensive work of edition and adaptation that these type of software cannot do.

Machine translation programs have improved a lot in the last years, but they are far from substituting the work of human translators. In fact, there are some translation companies that use these programs to complement their work, and just that, complement. They can be a great work tool for you and everyone who is part of the translation world, because they are not meant to be a replacement.

If you want to learn more about this, I recommend you to read about The Machine Translation System and Human Post-Editing, so you take this option into account when searching for translation services.

In Traduality, we make sure that all of our jobs have a seal of quality and excellence. We use technology in favor of our clients, always making sure that the final work is what they really need. If you want to learn about our services, please feel free to contact us anytime! We have everything that you need.

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