How to Improve Machine Translation Quality

Machine translation is the process of automatically translating text from one language into another with the help of artificial intelligence. The concept of machine translation may be new to many, but it has actually been in use for quite some time now

While most people want to know how to get the best possible machine translation output, they fail to realize that the final result can hardly be perfect without humans giving it the final touch. In other words, what you get from the best machine translation software on the market is the best interpretation that a computer can make on its own. 

As in any field, quality assurance is an integral part of the translation process. Effective outcomes can only be achieved with in-depth familiarity with the concept of translation quality, a streamlined process, competent professionals, and reliable resources.

Here, we’ll walk you through tried-and-true methods for making sure the machine-translated content is reliable, consistent with your brand, and, most importantly, practical for your team’s day-to-day operations.

Pick software that supports your desired language pair

You can reduce the amount of editing necessary when machine translating a text into multiple languages by keeping in mind the connections between them. Realistically speaking, most machine translation software cannot provide 100% bulletproof expertise in just about every language pairing there is. While most machine translation solutions can prove to be sufficient for basic translation services thanks to their cross-language databases, complex academic, business, scientific, or medical reports and papers should never be entrusted to free machine learning-powered translation services that lack native-speaker quality for many language pairs.   

Therefore, before diving deep into your machine translation efforts, check if the software you decide to use supports the language pair you need. Always use machine translation software that excels at the target languages you plan on using and one that can identify semantic, linguistic, and cultural differences in parallel texts. 

Maintaining a high-quality standard is essential

To ensure the quality of your translated website versions, start with the company’s own content style guides, which are used consistently in all communications, content, and marketing efforts. Your translated content needs to be consistent with your style guides and give your new audience access to content that has been adapted to their language and culture.

Beyond these foundational elements, your company’s definition of translation quality should cover some more complex things such as mistakes in syntax, usage, and punctuation. You should always verify that a glossary of terms or other termbase has been used and followed by the translator and that the writing is in the same tone as the original text.

Think about analyzing the translation in its original setting

Examining translations in their natural contexts allows reviewers to assess how well they function in various formats, including descriptions, titles, lists, visuals, and more. It accounts for the smallest linguistic differences between languages and ensures that the translated word has the same meaning and function in all target-language contexts as the original. 

This fine-tuning can be time-consuming and costly due to the high level of human involvement required, but the forethought and planning that goes into it will pay in the form of improved translation quality and reduced costs for fixes made after the fact.

Remove any room for confusion

Though extremely proficient at interpreting context and meaning, machine translation is far from flawless. Ambiguity, for example, can still be an issue. When words with multiple meanings are used more often, the software must quickly decide which of several translation options best represents the intended meaning of the word.

However, this can be a challenge when translating for specialized fields that have their own jargon and ambiguous terminology. It is possible to immediately increase both speed and accuracy by removing ambiguity from your source. Our advice is to avoid using ambiguous words unless doing so is essential.

Also Read: Different Types of Competitive Intelligence Tools and How to Use Them

Create a translation database

In order to create the so-called translation memories, you must first gather all of your legacy documents and files, as well as their translated equivalents. This will significantly enhance the quality of the initial translation, but it will necessitate extensive preparation work to find and organize the necessary files. 

From there, you can utilize this translation database for your future projects as well, as machine learning-powered translation tools are exceptional when it comes to learning from previous sets and applying those rules to all future tasks.

Final thoughts

The use of machine translation has grown in recent years, despite the fact that it has proven to be far from perfect. This issue of subpar quality has persisted for quite some time. However, you can enhance the quality of your translations by implementing some of the aforementioned suggestions. This includes selecting the right ML-powered translation software that supports your desired language pair, maintaining top-quality standards, analyzing the translation in its original setting, avoiding ambiguous words and phrases in your text, and creating a translation database that will serve as a true cornerstone for your future translation efforts. 

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