Translation – Humans vs AI.

Do you remember Shakuntala Devi? She could multiply two thirteen digit numbers faster than a computer. Allow us to show you another instance of a human vs computer battle that might seem more relatable to your millenial soul. This one is being fought between Human Translation and Machine Translation.


The former term refers to translation carried out by a language expert who is a human being. If you are laughing after reading this, our intentions have been fulfilled. Machine Translation on the other hand is translation carried out with the help of Artificial Intelligence. Now, let’s move on to the details.


The cool deal about human translation is that its still going to take a long time for AI to catch up with the creativity of a linguistic maestro – which means that MT is not here to steal your job if you are a translator. The quality aspect of human translation makes it suitable for high priority projects that are aimed towards generating leads. But then all good things are worthy and so you pay for their worth. The monetary value of human translated texts being high, you have to make a choice between human and AI if your are cashcrunched. And if you are indeed so, its not a problem at all. Read on.
Machine translation is great if you have high volumes of low creativity texts that need to be translated in a small period of time. You could use it for social media posts, comments and fact based writing. The best thing about it is that its light on the pocket.

It could cost you anywhere between measly to reasonable and that depends on three things. First, if the words in the text to be translated are new and have not been encountered by the AI software before, you will be charged for them. Second, if the words are repetitions or full matches i.e the software has come across them before, translated them and stored them in memory, you will not be asked to pay for them. The last part is the most interesting – there are words that are referred to as ‘fuzzy matches’. These words themselves have never been translated into memory but they are present in sentences that were translated into memory in the past. Fuzzy matches cost you less than new words but more than full matches.

The final showdown is when all participants come together to dance, isn’t it? No, we have not lost our mind. There is a category of translation that first uses AI as a preliminary step for text conversion and then uses a human translator to make corrections and improvements. Its called MTPE – Machine Translation Post Editing. Its a hybrid model that nullifies the disadvantage from both kinds of translation. Makes us wonder – is there a hybrid Shakuntala Devi computer or something? Ah never mind.

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