The Difference Between Human Translation and Machine Translation Services

Machine Translation Services

Which is better: human translation or machine translation services? Truthfully, that depends on your needs or preferences. For example, some people prefer human translation because humans consider words in their context before translating them. On the other hand, machine translation is faster as it can translate thousands of words per second.

To understand their differences, we can begin by identifying certain aspects to consider below. You will then decide which aspect matters to you more since both human and machine translation services are helpful in their ways.


Accuracy is not only about translating each word correctly. It is also about context; something machine translation tends to overlook. For instance, the term ‘bark’ can refer to the sound a dog makes or a part of a tree. A human will look at how the word is used in the sentence and translate it. On the other hand, machines may pick either meaning and run with it.

Humans also ensure accuracy by working as a team. They proofread each other’s work before submitting the final draft as a team. On the other hand, machine translation presents the translated draft without proofreading it. If accuracy matters to you, consider an online translation website that emphasizes more on human translation.


Some words do not make sense when translated directly. In such a case, the human translator will think of the right words to translate. However, machine translation services tend to translate each word even when the translation doesn’t make sense.

Human translators also showcase their creativity through humor like jokes or puns. Humor tends to draw more people to read such translated works. On the other hand, machines focus on translating words, hence making the entire translation process too formal. Still, human translators can interpret them better than machines on the humor.

Cultural Sensitivity

Human translators understand that certain words are offensive despite the translation being correct. An example of offensive comments is racial slurs. Therefore, the human translator will come up with an appropriate term for describing a certain race without being offensive.

Machine translators cannot distinguish between offensive and non-offensive words. They will pick a certain word to use, so long as the meaning is correct. If you want to avoid a lawsuit, then a human translation is your best bet.

Turnaround Time

If you need to beat deadlines, machine translation is apt. As earlier mentioned, they translate thousands of words within a second. It means you can handle a massive volume of tasks without worrying about not meeting the deadline. Furthermore, since machines cannot get fatigued, they can translate an unlimited number of words at any time.

With human translation, the turnaround is longer due to fatigue and thorough proofreading. To meet deadlines with human translation, a company would have to employ more human translators. Hiring more human translators ends up being an expensive undertaking for the company. You may consider checking for accurate and affordable translation.

Availability of Translation Tools

With machine translation, there are numerous free translation tools online. As a result, you will not have to worry about paying for some translation services. You will only need to worry about paying WIFI and electricity costs to go online.

You have to be ready to dig deep into your pockets with human translators. Unfortunately, you will hardly encounter a human translator willing to offer their services for free. If you are only using the translation tools for yourself, you can opt to use the free online translation tools. However, if you are translating documents for a wider audience, using human translators is the best choice.


Which service appeals to you more? Even though that is your choice, carefully consider your needs. For instance, choose human translation if you translate for a big audience and desire accuracy. On the flip side, if you have volumes of text to translate and all the audience needs are a general idea, opt for machine translation.

Contrary to popular belief, machine translation cannot replace human translators. People make this argument because machine translation is cheap and quicker. But, as seen, they have their drawbacks too. So instead, we should appreciate the importance of the two translation services and know when to use either.



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