As machine translators have “learned” more about words and their meanings in recent years, they have become more accurate. Due to technological development, many industries are now considering artificial intelligence and machine learning. The growth of machine translation and automated translation services has played a key role in the growth of this technology. Even big companies like Google and Microsoft are investing heavily in automated translation.
But how efficient are machine translations? Can they replace professional human translators? Which one is better, the machine translator or the human translator? The answer is obvious. A machine translator cannot compete with a human translator in terms of speed, accuracy, and efficiency. Here are more reasons why machines cannot replace human translators.
Why Human Translation Is Better Than Machine
Will AI replace human translators? Simply put, there is no substitute for human translation. In the following sections, we will explore five reasons why human translation will always be superior to machine translation.
1. Machines Cannot Express Feelings and Emotions Like Humans
We pride ourselves on our emotional intelligence. It allows us to express our feelings and understand others instantly. Take customer service, for example. Computers can not replace all customer service. Customers want personal interactions since robots can not show empathy or emotion. So, if companies do not engage their customers, they could lose them.
Nowadays, soft skills like communication and relationship building are more important at work than technical skills. AI systems are indeed fast, rational, and accurate. However, they are not intuitive, empathetic, or culturally sensitive. In fact, these are the very skills that make us human. Humans can gain information from non-verbal cues, while machines just can’t.
2. Style and Tone May Be Beyond a Machines Purview
Different documents have different styles and tones. Texts can have a poetic, witty, or persuasive tone, but when it comes to translation, machines miss these qualities. For the reader to understand the document well, it must have a certain style and tone. If this style and tone are not present, the text may lose its meaning.
Only a human translator can match and reproduce the style and tone of the source document accurately. With a machine translation, the intended tone and intricate nuances of the original document often get lost. This results in a rather flat and soulless end result. Translating some texts, such as poems and argumentative essays, is challenging for machines. Robots are unable to convey the feeling of the text, resulting in a flat translation.
3. Machines Can’t Keep Up With Language Changes
Languages evolve over time. The momentum accelerates because of technological advances and the explosion of knowledge. As new expressions appear in languages, grammar evolves as well. It is common today to hear phrases and words that people didn’t use a few decades ago. On the other hand, some words and expressions that were common a few decades ago are now obsolete.
Machine translation software has to be constantly updated to keep up with these changes. Updating these programs is challenging because they are based on a sophisticated algorithmic system. Human translators, on the other hand, do not have to deal with such difficulties. Humans are versatile, so they can keep up with language changes faster than any machine translation program.
4. Machines Don’t Understand Complex Human Cultures
When it comes to cultural translations, there is an inherent lexical split between languages. Some words may have a specific meaning in one culture but a completely different meaning in another. Direct word-for-word translation by a machine translator leads to confusion and sometimes hilarious and obscene results. However, human translators with knowledge of both the source and target cultures go beyond the literal translation of words.
They can detect subtle nuances in the text, especially slang or idioms, and skillfully find appropriate equivalents in the target language. Certain expressions that are unique to one culture are completely unintelligible in another. Even human translators have difficulty achieving a perfect translation, let alone a machine translator.
5. A Translation Cannot Be Complete Without the Human Touch
A machine translator can never match the intelligence of a human being. They are quite efficient, but human translators can add a special touch to the content to make it stand out. The translation will be grammatically correct and easy to understand when edited by proofreaders and editors. Only humans can grasp the complexity of a language. They are able to tailor the translation to the target audience.
There’s no denying the importance of machine translation. It has come a long way in recent years, but it still has a long way to go. A professional human-based translation service is still by far the best option for translating high-quality content.