The Benefits of Machine Translation in Localization

Learn how the benefits of machine translation can help you optimize and speed up your localization journey, all while maintaining quality and saving money.


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March 6, 2022
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Businesses are always looking for new ways to expand to new markets and to reach new audiences. However, one of the biggest problems they always face is the language barriers. Different countries have different languages, and dialects, so in order to expand fast, businesses need to find a way to automate this process.

This is where localization, and with it - machine translation come in, as this is an efficient and cost-effective way to translate content into multiple languages.

In this article, we will explore the various benefits of machine translation and how it can help businesses reach new audiences, reduce localization costs, and improve the overall customer experience.

Whether you are a small business or a big corporation, understanding the benefits of machine translation is absolutely essential in today's global marketplace.

Benefits of Machine Translation in Localization

If you’re still trying to decide whether machine or human translation is the right choice for you at this moment, doing a deep dive into the benefits and limitations of machine translation will certainly help you make a decision.

Let’s start with the benefits of machine translation.

1. Cost-Effective

One of the most significant benefits of machine translation in localization is its cost-effectiveness. With machine translation, businesses can reduce the cost of translating content, especially if they need to translate a lot of content.

For example, an e-commerce brand that needs to update their product descriptions. Machine translation is ideal for this use case because it can translate the content fast, and at a lower cost that with human translators.

2. Fast Turnaround Time

Machine translation engines can translate thousands of words per minute, which is a lot more than a human translator can translate in the same time period. With that being said, it’s clear that business can translate a large amount of content very quickly, which makes machine translation ideal for industries where speed is of the essence. Some of these are e-commerce, technology, and finance.

3. Consistency

With machine translation, businesses can expect consistency in translations. Unlike human translators, machine translation engines do not get tired so they produce the same results each time. They do not make mistakes due to repetition or tiredness.

This means that the translation is always consistent, which is essential for brands that need to maintain a consistent tone and voice across their translated content.

4. Improved Quality

Machine translation has come a long way in recent years, and the quality of machine translation has significantly improved. In the past, quality has been a big issue with ML, and now, it’s more accurate than ever before. And the good thing about machine translation is that it’s improving very fast, meaning we can expect even higher quality in the near future.

With that being said, if you are translating some important documents, it’s advised you use ML as a starting point, but rely on human translation for greater accuracy.

5. Scalability

Machine translation is highly scalable, which means that businesses can translate large volumes of content quickly and efficiently.

This is particularly useful for businesses that need to translate content into multiple languages. A great example of this is the e-commerce industry we have previously mentioned.

6. Reduced Time-to-Market

The goal of every business is to move fast. However, with human translation this part is challenging because it takes more time than machine translation.

Machine translation can significantly reduce time-to-market for businesses that need to translate content quickly. By using machine translation, businesses can easily translate large volumes of content and get their products to market faster.

7. Increased Efficiency

By relying on machine translation to handle this aspect of business for you, you will have more time to focus on other aspects of your operations, whether that is product development, marketing or sales.

To automate the process even further, it’s recommended you work with a localization platform, that ensures both speed and accuracy.

8. Conserves Human Resources

Your HR department probably spends a lot of time looking for high quality human translators. And once they have a list of great translators, they need to bring team members from other departments to make the decision together. This can take up a lot of time, and eventually money.

By using machine translation, you’re saving your team a lot of time they can use on other important tasks in the company.

Limitations of Machine Translation in Localization

While machine translation has many benefits, it is not without its limitations. Now that we’ve gone over the benefits, it’s time to talk about limitations.

1. Accuracy

As we have previously mentioned in the article, machine translation has significantly improved in recent years, however it’s still not as accurate as human translation.

Machine translation engines can struggle with idiomatic expressions and context-specific vocabulary, which can result in inaccurate translations. Therefore, it is important to use machine translation as a starting point, but always rely on a human translator to ensure high accuracy.

2. Lack of Human Touch

Machine translation lacks the human touch that comes with human translation, such as the ability to interpret tone and emotion or understanding the context of a particular situation.

This means that ML can provide you with a technically accurate translation, but may not effectively convey the intended meaning.

3. Customization

Using machine translation for general translation purposes is great, and can give quality translation. However, it might not be suitable for all types of content.

For example, if you are working with an engine that’s trained for legal content, it might not work great if you are looking to translate content that is medical related. That’s why you need to be extra careful if you are translating industry specific content.

4. Quality of Input Text

Machine translation relies on the content we’ve written to generate accurate translation. However, if the input text we’ve provided it with contains errors, the translation we will receive can also contain errors.

When working with a human translator, they can catch these errors in the original content and make sure they are resolved before translating them.

Is Machine Translation the future of localization?

Machine translation is a valuable tool in the localization process, providing numerous benefits, including cost-effectiveness, fast turnaround time, consistency, improved quality, scalability, reduced time-to-market, increased efficiency, and conservation of human resources.

However, it is important to acknowledge the limitations of machine translation, including accuracy, lack of human touch, customization and checking the quality of the input text.

Therefore, businesses should use machine translation as a tool to speed up the localization process, but always have a human translator or editor review the translations for accuracy and to ensure they’re culturally appropriate.

Overall, machine translation has had a significant impact on the world of localization by making the process faster, more efficient, and more cost-effective. As technology continues to improve, machine translation is likely to become an even more important tool for businesses that want to reach global audiences.

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