I’m often asked “why should we [clients] bother and pay so much for translation by humans when we can use machine translation?

It seems that explanations of why man is better than machine fall on less than willing ears, because really, when someone is paying unwillingly, it’s very hard to explain, let alone persuade them which is a better route to take.

It may be alright to use machine translation if you want to ask for directions, or maybe get the gist of a message on Facebook or Twitter, but would you use it to translate legal, medical, engineering, patent documents or heaven forbid, marketing text?

Perhaps the following back translation (English to Hebrew to English) of an excerpt taken from the “European Association for Machine Translation (EAMT)”* is persuasive enough. You be the judge as to which of the two technologies Google Translate (1) or Babylon (2) does a “better” job at incoherency:

  1. The term sounds archaic “machine translation” is – for historical reasons – now identified primarily with translation software independent, and translation software is now available runs the gamut from programs checking dictionary just used a word processor with a dose sophisticated – translation systems and translation speed Internet. EAMT maintains a holistic perspective.
  2. The ancient to be sounded resting ” translation of machine “, to the historical reasons nowadays mainly communal with standalone translation programs whereas the translation software now available runs the totality from search of simple dictionary of programs used about / as word processor add to the sophisticated systems of translation of the batch and fast translation on the network. Aimt claims an inclusive point Of View.

Even the best translator will not be able to edit this text properly to make it coherent, and you haven’t even seen what it did to the Hebrew translation…

* The EAMT website: http://www.eamt.org/mt.php