Many of us have used Google Translate or another software platform to translate snippets of text or speech. What we don’t realize is how incredibly difficult it is for a computer to perform these translations. If the translation process was always word for word, it would be very simple, but the grammatical differences between languages create a whole new layer of complexity.

Thanks to modern statistics, machine learning, and enhanced computer hardware, machine translation has improved significantly over the course of the last decade. Even so, all of the nuances used in language make it difficult for developers to create the perfect machine translation program. That said, they are being used, and with excellent results. Let’s take a closer look:

Online translator and language e-learning conceptsOne use of machine translation is to help expand businesses. Translating simple paragraphs and statements on a website allows businesses to reach markets they may not have been able to before. These machine translation programs are also used to assist in international communication. They are great tools for getting the general idea of what someone is trying to say in a different language.

Pro tip: When dealing with official documents and contracts, businesses should employ adept, human translators to get all of the fine print (aka: legalities) correct.

How does machine translation work?

There’s an infinite number of factors when it comes to machine translation. Sentence structure, grammar, and emphasis are just some of the many things to consider when translating a sentence. Because of this, you cannot simply program translation software to automatically translate something. Newer translation software teaches your computer how to assess each sentence, paragraph, and figure of speech. Over time, the software “learns” how to function, providing better and better results.

Machine translation programs employ neural networks using a process known as Neural Machine Translation (NMT). These advanced statistical models are created using an unbelievable amount of data. If you train newer translation software using enough data, they can learn how to interpret and translate language correctly. Though these tools are amazing, nuances in language, such as idioms, are often still misunderstood or poorly translated.

If you’re preparing to expand your business offerings overseas, and you’ll be interacting with customers in a language other than your own, it’s important to partner with a translation company you can trust. Here at International Translating Company, we specialize in translating everything from legal documents and website copy to books, virtual presentations, and more. To learn more about our capabilities, please visit our website by clicking here.