How to Choose the Best Machine Translation Engine?

As technology advances, machine translation is gaining hold in recent times. Although most translation jobs are still handled by human translators, a growing number of complex translation jobs are being handled by machine translation engines or a combination of both human and machine translation.

With this growing demand for machine translation, more enterprises are opting to use machine translation engines. However, choosing the ideal machine translation engine might be a daunting task for many companies, but with the right tools and expertise, companies can easily choose a machine translation engine for managing all their translation tasks. 

Before we explore the factors that an enterprise must consider when choosing a machine translation engine, let us look at why machine translation is so important in the first place.

Why Use Machine Translation?

Translation companies have their own knowledge and toolset (e.g. term bases, dictionaries, glossaries, software) that they use to get the translation job done smoothly. However, companies want to speed up their translation work by providing high-quality accuracy and quick turnarounds of their translation projects.

A machine translation engine speeds up the translation process by reducing any errors that may occur if the human translation is used. Other than speeding up the translation process, a machine translation engine can serve as an ideal starting point for human translation efforts like post-editing. 

Besides providing high accuracy and quick turnaround, a machine translation engine is not only for use of individual translators, as Language Service Providers and enterprises can also gain the benefits of using machine translation to speed up their work. This is the reason why machine translation is ideal to use in case of large amounts of text when it is necessary to go through huge data in a short period of time. Although the final translation needs editing and correction by human translators, the use of machine translation definitely makes the whole translation process a lot smoother and quicker.

In addition to all the benefits delivered by machine translation, the translation turnaround time can be reduced by up to 50%, which can also reduce the costs associated with translation.

Considerations for Choosing the best Machine Translation Engine

Machine translation engine is an efficient and affordable way of translating large amounts of text from one language to another. With the capability to deliver improved efficiency and faster turnaround times, machine translation can deal with large amounts of text, while reducing the overall cost of the translation project.

However, with such a high influx of machine translation tools and engines in the market, choosing the right one can be quite tricky. Opting for the most well-known machine translation engine may seem like an easy option, but it is important to remember that not all MT engines are equal. Some work great for particular language pairs, while others will be efficient in one type of content or domain. 

There are some considerations to keep in mind when choosing the best Machine Translation engine for your enterprise needs. These are:

1. Content Type and Language

Different MT engines deliver different types of performance depending on the content to be translated. This is the reason why it is vital to consider the type of content that needs to be translated along with the language pairs. 

  • Type of Content

The type of content and the specific genre along with the vocabulary, tone of voice, and documentation requirement, for example, translation of legal documents require specific vocabulary related to warrants, registrations, and certifications. 

  • Language pairs

Many MT engines work best with some language pairs or combinations of languages that are required for translation

  • Budget and Time

An MT engine can best be chosen by considering the time and budget resources.

Although MT engines can work best with almost all types of content, certain genres such as creative documents like literary texts are better handled by human translation as they require creative thinking and ideas.

2. The Theme and Topic of the Text

According to a report on machine translation engines, it was found that each MT engine works best with a certain type of content. This implies the importance of content type in the selection of a machine translation engine. 

The highest quality of translated content that can be expected from an MT engine is related to the fields of Computer Software, Telecommunication, and legal services as these contain topics related to documentation, support, content, policies, processes, and procedures, which are the most accessible types of content. Contrary to this, the text related to professional and business sectors such as marketing, advertising, and sales poses the most problems for MT engine translations. 

3. Generic or Customized Machine Translation Engines

Some generic machine translation engines such as Google Translation, Microsoft Translate, and Amazon Translate are untrained for handling particular domains or types of topics, which is why they are best suited for general translations. These MT engines can give users a good idea of how a text will look in another language, but they could struggle with domain-specific terms. 

On the other hand, customized MT engines are trained for handling data from specific domains or types. These customized MT engines provide a more accurate and authentic translation output than a human translator, but they might need to read a large amount of already translated data which might become a limitation for many. However, before choosing a generic or a customized MT engine, keep in mind that customized engines are a bit expensive and need more management, but deliver better and more precise results than generic ones. 

4. Pricing of the MT Engine

Before choosing an MT engine for your translation projects, be sure to go through the pricing models of each one, while defining the one which is most suitable for your enterprise needs. Although machine translation is cheaper than human translation, it still needs cost adjustments, which have to be taken into careful consideration. This is because some differences in the prices of MT engines can have a huge impact on your project. 

5. Legal Requirements

There are certain legal requirements regarding the use of MT engines, which can have an impact on the selection of the MT engine you want for your projects. Before choosing an MT engine, a company should verify whether there are any limitations related to data localization and storage such as certain GDPR rules which can restrict the choices for MT engines.

Other than the legal requirements, certain policies for data handling might be applicable on some MT engines, such as the need for confidentiality and security. According to some statistics, companies with very strict data handling requirements may refuse the use of machine translation altogether, as they might be concerned about data breaches and fear of exposing data. This means that an enterprise must ensure that the translation partner they are choosing offers secure data handling and uploading options. Combined with a good MT engine, the services of a certified and professional translation agency can go a long way in ensuring the translation is secure and free from data leakages. 

One other domain that can pose a problem is the translation of legal documents, where court requirements have to be considered. In many cases, these translations related to the legal field will need to be certified, which is a tough task if no certified translation partner is available for post-editing. 

6. Additional Capabilities

Some additional capabilities of the MT engines also need to be considered before choosing an MT engine. These additional capabilities are:

  • Glossary support: also known as custom terminology or dictionary, a glossary contains custom vocabulary and a collection of words and phrases. These glossaries are used by MT engines and need to be examined before choosing the MT engine.
  • The tone of voice: The required tone of voice for different genres may be different for MT engines. This is why it is important to consider the formal or informal features of the MT engine as it can determine the pronouns and related words used in the translation. 

Key Takeaway

A machine translation engine is an ideal choice when large amounts of data and content require translation. Being an alternative to human translation, a machine translation engine can deliver fast results for an enterprise translation need. However, it might be a daunting task to choose the right MT engine for a company with so many options available on the market. With proper planning, defining of goals, and examination of the content type, a company can make the choice of an MT engine in a better and more precise way, provided that it has the support of a certified and professional translation agency that can make the whole process of translation a smooth and quicker one. 

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