The Three Types of Translation (& Which You Should Use!)
Translation has been around for centuries. The technique of translation has evolved over time, and several types of translation have emerged. In the modern world, there are three types of translation: human translation, machine translation, and post-edited translation. These three examples of translation are all viable ways of rendering content into another language.
But which of these types of translation should you use for your project? Each way of translating content has its benefits, and the ‘best’ option depends on your budget, timeframe, and requirements. Let’s take a closer look at your options and help you decide the right choice for your needs.
1. Human Translation
Human translation is the process of translating text from one language to another performed by a human translator. This method produces the most accurate and reliable of all types of translation, resulting in natural-sounding, authentic content. Here are a few more examples of translation benefits you get when enlisting real people to work on your projects:
- Improved accuracy as the context and nuances of the source and target languages are considered when using this technique.
- Ensuring the finished content sounds natural and fluid in the target language, helping to connect and engage audiences more effectively.
- Human translators can pay attention to detail and recognise the many elements of a text, such as symbols and metaphors.
- Translators can take a more creative approach to translation when necessary, offering localisation and transcreation services.
- Increased types of multimedia formats that your translator can work on, including written content, audio files, websites and apps, and video.
Despite these many benefits, human translation services are more expensive and time-consuming than other types of translation. For this reason, this technique of translation is not always the best option for large-scale projects. As technology has advanced, machine translation has thus gained popularity in recent years.
2. Machine Translation
Machine translation is a computer-aided translation process in which a machine attempts to translate text from one language to another. It is often used for large-scale projects thanks to its price advantage. An automated process is also faster than human and other types of translation. Here is a look at some more examples of translation benefits when using computers:
- Machine translation can be much faster than human translation, making this technique of translation ideal for large-scale projects.
- Machine translation is often cheaper than human translation, making it a more affordable option for businesses and organisations.
- Large amounts of text can be translated quickly using this method, which is useful for urgent projects or anyone working to tight deadlines.
- Many machine translations are available for free on websites and mobile apps, often integrated into the software. They automatically translate into the language of the end user.
However, machine translation is less accurate or reliable than human translation and can often produce awkward or unintelligible translations. This leads us to our third translation method, which strikes a balance between the types of translation we’ve covered so far.
3. Post-Edited Translation
Post-edited translation – also known as post-editing machine translation (PEMT) – is a form of computer translation combined with a human element. Human linguists rework machine-translated text to improve the quality. The results are made more accurate, consistent, and authentic.
These types of translation strike a good balance between human and machine translations. Post-edited translation is thus a solution when human translation is not an option due to cost or time constraints, but when accuracy is of high importance. Below are some more examples of translation benefits using this method:
- By editing machine translations, human translators can improve the accuracy, fluency, and readability of translations in the PEMT process.
- Post-edited translation does require humans to translate text from one language to another but instead uses machines, making the process highly efficient.
- It is a good option for professional content when the quality of machine translations is not good enough for publication or use, but time and budget matter.
Although post edited translation is much faster than human translation, this technique of translation is still more time-consuming than machine translation alone. This is the main drawback of this translation method, but it is still a great alternative to human translations when accuracy is essential.
Which Type of Translation to Use
Budget and time are two essential factors to consider when deciding which of the three types of translation to use. However, you must also determine how important accuracy is in your translation. Weighing up these three factors can help you choose a suitable method. Let’s look at some examples of translation projects to explain things more clearly.
For more creative translations that do not have a short deadline, human translation is often the best option. This technique of translation is the most authentic and accurate and is a good option for companies looking to launch businesses overseas. Human translators can take a creative approach and make your brand name and marketing materials suitable for other cultures.
On the other hand, machine translation may be preferable when a translation needs to be done quickly. However, machines should only be relied on if accuracy isn’t important. Legal translations should never be left to a machine, for example. In many cases, legal paperwork has to be certified by a human linguist to ensure it is 100% accurate.
Post-edited translations are your best option if you have a tight deadline and a low budget but need accurate and authentic translations. They’re beneficial in cases where machine translations cannot provide enough context for understanding what is being said in the source text, and are far more accurate than machine-translated texts alone.
Professional Translation Services from Renaissance Translations
The technique of translation has evolved over time with the rise of technology. Today, the three types of translation are human, machine, and post-edited. Although each type of translation has its benefits, machine and post-edited translations are often used in tandem with human translation to complete large projects within an acceptable timeframe.
If you need a quick and affordable yet 100% accurate translation, we can help! Renaissance Translations has a growing network of qualified human linguists. We have pooled the talents of native translators and thousands of linguists internationally. Each uses our computer-assisted tools to help streamline projects, improve consistency, and keep our fees low.
Our outstanding services have made us the go-to translation agency for companies worldwide, and you can find examples of translation testimonials here. If you want to discuss your project, please contact our project managers or request a quote online on our website.