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How to Get the Best Translation Quality from Machine Translation

Posted on: Mar 15, 2018

Many people ask how to get the best translation quality from machine translation without acknowledging the fact that machine translation quality cannot improve without human input.

Machine translation will only yield you the best language translation that a computer alone can generate. This means that if you’re hoping for a machine translation application to autonomously generate high-quality translations of idiomatic phrases, local jargon and dialectical variations, you’re going to sabotage your translation projects.

So, how to get the best translation quality from machine translation? Well, first we need to reinforce why you can’t get high-quality translation from MT (machine translation).

Why Can’t I Get High-Quality Translations from Machine Translation Alone?

In order to get the best translation quality from machine translation, you must understand that machine translation models sentences based on predictive word sequencing that is pulled from a large artificial neural network.

This means that phrases (and sometimes words) are often butchered by machine translation applications, particularly in professions and fields that use specialized vocabulary and complex concepts.

Even with ongoing machine translation advancements in statistical and neural techniques, human intervention is still needed to improve machine translation quality.

This is what makes it currently impossible to get the best translation quality from machine translation alone. Yes, even in 2018!

How to Get the Best Translation Quality from Machine Translation Applications

1. Use Machine Translation Best Practices

Our first suggestion for how to get the best translation quality from machine translation is to carefully craft sentences based on machine translation best practices.

Whether you or your colleague is writing the content to eventually be translated using a translation tool, it’s important to follow some best practices. These best practices will help to make the translations more accurate when you run them through a machine translation application.

Check out the cheat sheet below to get tips on how to get the best translation quality from machine translation.

How to Improve Machine Translation Quality: Infographic

2. Accept that You’ll Need a Human Translator

Another way to get the best translation quality from machine translation applications is by using the skills of a linguist.

You can definitely use machine translation to translate the bulk of your document, but that should be treated as a “first draft” for a human translator to edit afterward. You can still save money with this approach, since you’re using a combination of machine translation and human translation.

3. Use a Machine Translation Application with Translation Memory

An even more impactful and efficient way of getting the best translation quality from machine translation is by using a machine translation application that comes with Translation Memory technology.

Translation Memory is essentially a method of storing translations that have already been edited by a human, so that they can be reused again in the future.

The words and phrases that weren’t correctly translated by machine are replaced permanently in the application with the corrections made in the editing process. This means that all future machine translations of the same words and phrases will never need to be edited again by a human.

In return, your machine translation quality continuously improves because you’re essentially training the machine translation application to learn the proper, more “human” way of translating those words and phrases.

This also saves you a considerable amount of time and money on translation over time, regardless of the fact that you need the assistance of a human translator.

Which Machine Translation Application Comes with Translation Memory?

Adopting a machine translation application with Translation Memory included can seem like a confusing process.

A lot of the applications available come in the form of bulky software that you need to download on your Mac or PC, and there is usually a steep learning curve involved with these programs.

They often come at a steep price of $2,500 or more per licensed seat. This is enough to make any person who isn’t a translation professional walk away from the idea of using a machine translation program with Translation Memory included.

Actually, there’s no reason for translation professionals to be using these bulky programs anymore. Translation Memory is something that should work in the background and across web platforms while translations are performed. Additionally, there is no longer a reason for user interfaces to remain cluttered.

In 2018, working with a minimalist interface that packs a powerful punch is actually considered a smarter way of working.

Fortunately, there is a program that acknowledges this and has solved the major challenges that both professional translators and non-professional translators encounter when it comes to translation software.

Pairaphrase

Pairaphrase is as much a Translation Memory application as it is a machine translation application, so it makes it incredibly easy for you to invite a translator into your account to edit your “first draft” machine translations without paying for an extra seat.

Pairaphrase has a subscription-based model so that you don’t need to pay a lofty price per seat and you’re not locked into a contract.

When the linguist you work with edits the machine-translated draft you created within Pairaphrase, the system is learning as they edit. The edits are stored in your Pairaphrase Translation Memories so that you never need to ask them to edit the same segment or phrase twice, as long as they are editing the translations within Pairaphrase.*

*Please note that you won’t benefit from having your linguist edit the file outside of Pairaphrase (unless you are using Microsoft Office with our new plugin). Otherwise, the application cannot store your edits to your Translation Memories if the file isn’t edited within Pairaphrase.

This simplified process allows you to become more autonomous in your translation work over time while improving the translation quality of the machine translation application.

Learn More About Pairaphrase

Now that you’ve finally figured out how to get the best translation quality from machine translation, check out the video below.

You’ll learn more about how Pairaphrase uses powerful professional translation technology to create a hybrid machine translation and Translation Memory application that’s accessible to professional translators and non-professional translators alike.

With additional features such data security, file formatting preservation and text-to-speech output, Pairaphrase is the top choice for smart, fast and safe translation.

Get started with Pairaphrase today, or request a free demo.

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