The limitations of machine translation

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Machine translation may seem very useful if you need to know the meaning of a website’s content, but is it recommended when you need to correctly translate your proposal on the Internet?

What are the limitations of machine translation?

Before going into what these are, you should know how this type of program works, which started out as a mere dictionary and now seems to have the ability to translate entire sentences or expressions.

If you look closely, most of these tools even offer the possibility to improve the translation or submit your opinion of it. In other words, even their own creators understand that it is not always possible to obtain an effective and real translation of the corresponding terms.

It seems logical to infer that translation is work that should be done by a human being and not a machine. Machine translation is limited to translating first word for word and then phrases, but it does not have the necessary capacity to detect irony, double meaning, or other nuances we may deduce when we read the text to be translated.

To sum up, its use can be very effective to find out how to say a specific word, but not when it comes to creating a quality translation on which the future of your business depends.

How can machine translation hurt a website?

It is essential to note that the future of a website depends, directly, on how it’s positioned in search engines. If a person is interested in what you do, but notices that the translation you offer of your website in their native language is incorrect, they will promptly go for another option. Moreover, the use of this type of translation harms you in two different ways.

With the extension in the user’s browser

This extension may be activated when a site is located in a language other than the one selected during installation. Its use has two consequences with different effects:

· The user has had to use it because you don’t include a translation of your website into your potential customer’s native language (which directly affects your competitiveness).

· The user ignores the mistakes because they know that it is a machine translation for which you are not responsible.

In both cases, one of the basic pillars of neuromarketing is undermined, which is that a person needs to find the content they’re looking for on your website in less than 10 seconds, or they’ll choose another place to find it.

What is the best alternative to this type of translation?

Choosing a personalized translation service that has the ability to capture the message you wish to convey, to conform to the language of your potential clientele, and to know the cultural details of the target country. 

Machine translation should be used more as an elementary resource to get by, but never as a real option when translating a website. Only the best professionals have the ability to achieve the goal of increasing conversion levels and the corresponding benefits.

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This post is also available in: Español (Spanish) Français (French)