Why Machine Translation is a Problem and How to Avoid Mistranslation in Your Business | myTranscriptionplace Blog

Why Machine Translation is a Problem and How to Avoid Mistranslation in Your Business

Oct 11, 2022, Sukanya Pant


The age-old debate between automation and human-driven work will likely never resolve. Growth in technology comes with a large set of advantages, but a vast array of disadvantages as well. Without a question, we live in a time where technology has become a significant part of our lives, but if dependence on it keeps growing, it may also sometimes become a detriment. 


What is machine translation?  


To put it simply, machine translation is the process of translating data from one language to another using an automatic or machine translator. It is fast, efficient and affordable, but comes with its fair share of problems. The most important thing to think about while translating something is the repercussions of any potential mistakes. Machine Translation, in its essence, picks up substitutes for words from the source language, in the target language, and doesn't account for any additional meanings or emotions attached. This makes it inaccurate a lot of time since the meaning gets lost in translation.  


What are the problems it poses?  


Accuracy:

Regardless of the language, accuracy is a crucial component of good communication. Whether it is a legal document, a medical report or an official document, accuracy in translation is of utmost importance. Therefore, it is critical to remember that the accuracy of the information should not be lost when translating any material into another language. This accuracy of the text cannot be maintained during the translation process using machine translation. 


Ambiguity:

The ambiguity in meaning due to the use of machine translation can be offensive or difficult to understand for a lot of readers. Machin translation cannot decipher the subtleties of language, and thus misses out on the meaning behind the text.  


No customisation:

Numerous customisation solutions in this respect remain unanswered since machine translation follows some systematic structures. Different file formats like PDF, DOC,.TXT, etc. cannot be translated by machine translation. Machine language is ineffective in situations where someone has to translate medical records but only has a JPEG or PDF file and is unable to type such papers. 


Mistranslation  


Machine translation is not the only one that has problems, in fact, even the greatest and most skilled translators can misunderstand the original text or just translate it incorrectly because they failed to pick up on certain cultural cues or signifiers along the way. The very real and frequent issue of misreading and mistranslation is one of the reasons that any discussion of translation standards nearly always requires a review of the work by a third-party translation professional. 


How to avoid mistranslation  


Human translation:

Human beings can make mistakes, that is a given. But when it comes to translation, human translation is much more nuanced and accurate than a simple machine translation. Human beings understand cultural contexts and can decipher meanings as well.  


Avoid making assumptions:

The translator must always be vigilant of their own actions in order to prevent such blunders. You must be cautious while using source texts and constantly remind yourself not to assume anything. There are several ways to confirm your understanding of a text because translation doesn't exist in a vacuum. The secret is to take advantage of them and push forward. Speed is seldom the best indicator of a translator's efficiency for this reason as well. 


Take your time:

Take your time to understand the source text and decode its meaning, and then again to translate the conversation into the new language. Adhere to deadlines, but in following that, don't skip crucial tasks to keep the essence of the text intact.  


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