Machine translation has made huge amounts of progress over the past decade, but it still has the reputation of being useless for business application. While it is true you cannot rely on the technology to accurately translate content by itself, machine translation is far more useful than many people realise – as long as you know how to use it.
In this article, we are going to look at three ways machine translation can improve your business.
#1: Using translation memory to speed up projects
One of the most important applications of machine translation is translation memory. Essentially, this stores all of your translations and creates a database of individual words and phrases that can be used again in future pieces of content.
You will find that your content naturally repeats the same words and phrases quite often, which means re-translating them is inefficient. Translation memory does this automatically so your translators can forget about repeating work and focus on translating original content.
Over time, this can save a lot of time, money and other resources by creating a more efficient translation workflow.
#2: MT for research
Let’s say France is one of your target markets and you want to localise your content marketing strategy to suit their interests. This is precisely what you should be doing in this scenario and part of this will be knowing exactly what is going on in the French media.
Now, imagine if you have 26 target markets around the world and your content marketing team wants to keep up with all the latest news for each audience. Using machine translation to keep tabs on local news events makes sense if you want to mention public interests in your content.
As long as you understand that translation errors are a possibility and verify your facts before publishing anything, machine translation can do a job here.
#3: Using machine translation for first drafts
One of the biggest misconceptions about machine translation is that professional translators never use it. This could not be further from the truth and you will actually find that the majority of translators use this technology to speed up their workflow.
Depending on the kind of content they are working with and the languages they are dealing with, professional translators can often use machine translation to create a first draft for them. Sometimes it is faster for them to correct the mistakes machine translation makes than do everything themselves.
A crucial skill for today’s translators is knowing when and how to use machine translation.
Machine translation certainly has its limitations, but these will not get in your way as long as you understand what they are. Much like anything else, there is a time and a place to use this technology – something every business should learn for themselves. Machine translation will never give you the finished article, so to speak, but it might be able to help you get there faster.