From its very inception, many people thought that the computer would provide the ultimate solution in finally breaking down human language barriers; that it would provide a vehicle whereby language translation would become widely automated and available and completely eliminate the language obstacles that have all too often separated peoples, cultures, societies and understanding. However, it has been decades since computers first arrived on the scene and we are still waiting for the solution to fully arrive.
The reason is simply that language translation is more of an art than a science. The constantly changing and all too often ambiguous nature of human language is such that even highly trained and experienced human translators often need to research the perfect or acceptable translation for some words and/or phrases within a particular context.
No matter what any translation software publisher may claim, no translation program in the world can produce translations as accurate and intelligible as an experienced, well trained professional human translator. If you need to translate text for product packaging, user’s manuals, customer brochures or flyers, legal agreements, or a host of other written documents that will eventually be seen by your clients, customers, partners, or which may have legal or ethical liability issues for you or your company, you should hire an experienced, well trained professional human translator.
The best possible results you should expect from any machine translation software program available on the market today is what is sometimes called a “draft” translation. Essentially, the translation results may only provide you with the gist or general idea of what the text is about.
To obtain the best possible results from any machine translation program, the source or input text to be translated should employ simple, direct, concise language, use short declarative sentences, be spelled correctly and be grammatically correct. Good source text is clearly written, easily understood and concise.
Some translation programs can help speed up the work of a professional human translator, especially if it allows for the creation of customized user translation databases as well as providing the option of selecting an alternative translation for the one automatically selected by the program.