Machine translation (MT) uses artificial intelligence to translate texts from one language to another automatically. The top machine translation software of 2021 are moving towards even greater automatization and more nuanced learning systems (here's how machine translation got so far and whether it will replace human translators or not).
If your company engages in multilingual localization projects extensively, let's talk about how you can leverage the power of MT engines to translate important documents.
Is your company capitalizing on the benefits of machine translation engines?
- What are the benefits of machine translation software?
- What are the types of machine translation systems?
- What are the best machine translation software in 2021?
Machine translations often get a bad rep because people tend to compare them to the work of human translators... which is really a case of apples and oranges.
MT software isn't meant to replace your team, but to make their jobs easier.
Machine translation engines are integrated into powerful programs known as computer-assisted translation (CAT). Global companies use them to manage and streamline extensive localization projects. Learn more here.
When used correctly, you can reap the benefits of machine translation engines, especially when it comes to speed and productivity. Here's how:
MT engines can process and translate large amounts of text almost instantly. Language purists will argue that the translation isn't perfect. However, a marketing officer with a twenty-page catalog to translate into five languages will say, "This makes my life easier."
Many businesses use machine translations as pre-translation - a foundation they can build on even without the help of an actual translator. Chances are someone on their team already has the skills to do some simple proofreading and editing with the pre-translated text.
For popular language pairs, it's completely safe (and free!) to rely on machine translations for common words, phrases, and expressions. Most would have been vetted by experts and native speakers through crowdsourcing platforms. Why spend any extra money on a "proper" translation?
Machine translation would only cost 0,2% of what you would pay for manual translations.
Each machine translation system has its own algorithm describing the semantic and syntactic makeup of a language. The way the machine understands and employs these linguistic patterns in translating texts affects the translation quality.
We can generally distinguish between two common types of machine translation systems: statistical MT and neural MT.
1. Statistical MT draws from huge caches of data containing previously-approved translations for a specific language pair. This is known as the bilingual corpora.
The machine uses a probability-driven model to analyze the corpora and draw parallels between the structures of two languages. From there, it predicts the best translation.
2. Neural MT organizes linguistic data into complex groups and layers. This results in an artificial neural network that closely resembles our brains and how we store information.
The machine derives translations from existing bilingual databases and also from its automated learning as it feeds on new information. It's often said to be faster, more nuanced, and accurate in translating texts.
What's your type then? This will depend on a number of factors like
• Your budget: Neural MT is more expensive to train than statistical MT.
• Your industry: Some industries demand complex and technical language that may require more sophisticated processing. Neural MT provides this.
• The language pairs you need: Statistical MT is often sufficient for certain language pairs.
• The amount of data you have: Neural MT require huge swathes of text for it to learn and for you to reap the benefits.
The machine translation engine of your choice may offer both Statistical and Neural MT based on your needs. Let's take a look at the best machine translation software you can start using today.
1. Google Translate
Maybe you've heard of it? Google Translate is the most popular machine translation software and for good reasons. One, it's free.
Two, it supports over 100 languages, which is significantly more than other service providers. Sure, it's still infamous for its inaccurate translations, but the AI is evolving with each hilarious mistake.
Having started off as a statistical MT software, Google Translate has moved to neural translation systems for more language pairs. This will help reduce the likelihood of inaccuracies as their machine gets smarter at recognizing and understanding patterns.
With Google, you know you're getting a service backed by a large company with resources to improve its AI continuously.
For privacy reasons, you should avoid uploading your documents directly to Google Translate. Instead, you can access Google Translate services through secure CAT tools.
DeepL covers 13 languages with over 100 possible combinations among them. While this may seem like a small number compared to their competitor's offerings, the strength of DeepL resides in translation quality.
The company focuses on developing their machine translation through deep learning. This is a system where the machine studies and learns extensively from reliable linguistic sources with or without human supervision.
In doing so, the AI has a better grasp of context and nuances, which allows for more accurate and natural translations. As such, DeepL may outperform the industry giants in translating the languages it specializes in.
DeepL translations are available on Redokun, a CAT tool that simplifies your document translations for foreign markets. Find out more.
3. Microsoft Translator
Another household name on this list is Microsoft Translator with over 70 languages under its belt.
The best part about Microsoft Translator is that it's already integrated into other Microsoft services. You can easily learn how to translate your Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint slides within the software.
While the service is free for general use, you need a subscription plan for business integrations.
And like Google Translate, Microsoft is moving in the direction of neural networks, paving the way for smarter machine translations that resemble natural language use.
4. Amazon Translate
Amazon Translate is a neural machine translation service that supports 71 languages. You can easily integrate it into your business applications with a simple API call.
Another highlight is its scalability, whether it's translating email messages or company websites with a higher amount of texts.
Since Amazon Translate services are available on a pay-as-you-go basis, you customize your plan based on your project size.
5. Baidu Translate
Baidu is the Chinese equivalent of Google. Naturally, Baidu Translate enjoys access to a richer database of Chinese language uses, which is a key ingredient for better translations.
Although Baidu Translate doesn't have an English-based platform, you can refer to this guide to help you navigate the site.
Their platform also offers context setting, where you have options like finance or biology. The setting prompts the AI to consider industry-specific terms and terminologies while translating your text.
If your business is looking to localize in Chinese markets, Baidu Translate is a good option!
Machine translation should be a supplement, not a replacement. With the advent of powerful cloud tools and computer-assisted translation software (read a resourceful 101 guide about it or even how to choose a translation software), your business can integrate machine translations to produce compelling copies.
Most of the time, you don't even need a translator - just a good editor. This can be anyone already on your team.
In fact, you can make the best of machine translation today with a free trial of Redokun. Here's how it works. First, upload your file and invite a team member to translate.
As seen below, the web editor will suggest machine translations generated by Google Translate and DeepL, which your colleague can select and edit if necessary.
You can also pre-translate the whole document first and then invite someone to edit. And that's it! The translation is complete in seconds.
With Redokun you could translate all of the Microsoft documents (Excel, Word, and PowerPoint), subtitles, XML documents, and here is how to translate pdf documents too; all while utilizing the power of translation memories.
We hope this article gave you insight into the best way to implement machine translation software in your workflow.
Localize your assets quickly and capture the global markets today. Click here to learn more about the best translation software in 2021.
Till next time,