As technology advances, so do the methods available for translating content. These advancements have led to the ongoing debate of whether to use AI translation or manual human translation services. Therefore, when people typically think about human and machine translation services, they think of it as a “this or that” situation, but it doesn’t need to be. Instead of pitting AI translation vs. human translation, you should consider combining the two. When using the two together, you can augment the quality of completed translations while reducing the human legwork needed to do so.  

AI Translation vs. Human Translation: Pros and Cons

AI translation uses advanced artificial intelligence to translate written or spoken words and their connotations more accurately than simple machine translation engines. When looking at AI translation vs. human translation in an either/or scenario, people map out the pros and cons of both to determine which fits their translation project best.  

AI Translation

Advancements in AI translation engines, like using artificial neural networks to translate content, have made machine translation a more significant asset today. 

The advantages of AI translation include:  

  • Very fast translation and turnaround time  
  • A growing number of machine translations engines to choose from 
  • A much more cost-efficient choice  
  • Growing accuracy levels, with over 90% accuracy in specific languages 
  • Allows translation of multiple languages 

However, AI translation still has major drawbacks when being used alone.


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The disadvantages include:  

  • Inability to notice cultural or contextual nuances 
  • Unable to identify and translate slang terminology  
  • Needs long-form text to be more accurate  
  • Difficulty with translating industry-specific terminology  
  • Level of accuracy changes depending on the language  

Human Translation 

It’s not a reach to say human translation ultimately provides better results. 

The advantages of human translation include:  

  • Editing and review processes for the highest level of accuracy 
  • Able to notice cultural and contextual nuances  
  • Able to identify and translate slang terminology  
  • Understands various dialects of languages  
  • Able to suggest better alternatives for content that isn’t easily translated 

However, there are a few disadvantages when using solely using human translation:  

  • Slower turnaround time  
  • More expensive, especially for larger projects  
  • Limited when choosing linguists unless using a translation agency 

If you’re looking at the two separately, then you’re stuck with the hard pros and cons associated with them both. Combining the two, however, opens you up to a much more efficient translation process.  

Combining the Two for Greater Success 

Even though AI can do the work faster and for a longer period of time, it is still a very incomplete process without the human touch. While the level of accuracy achieved through AI translation is steadily increasing, the 10% of leftover errors from even the most accurate machine translation projects can incur costly errors. They can ultimately be the reason a consumer decides to go with a competitor’s product. When you have a balanced look at the two processes, instead of the AI translation vs. human translation mindset, you’ll have a better understanding of just how much better the process can be. 

Translation is a form of information management, and when managing information from one language to another, it’s important to have as many productivity-enhancing factors as possible. Utilizing AI translation gives the linguist a rough draft to work with, allowing them to spend more time focusing on accuracy and content relativity as opposed to strictly translating all the content. This not only increases the quality of the project but also significantly reduces turnaround time.  

At Bureau Works, we’ve developed an innovative platform that layers AI in to deliver the highest translation accuracy possible. We not only utilize machine translation, but we also use AI to streamline the workflow. Our platform AI automates quotes to begin expediting the translation process, instead of the 1-2 day wait with other agencies. It also uses performance-driven data to automatically assign translation jobs to the linguists best suited for them – greatly reducing the need for project management in this area. 

Additionally, we factor in our translation editor tools such as translation memories, glossaries, spell-checkers, etc., for even greater efficiency with ongoing translation jobs. We’ve developed an end-to-end process, from price quoting to translation execution and delivery, that focuses on the quality we provide our consumers instead of the number of consumers we can bring in. We don’t believe in AI translation vs. human translation. We believe in augmenting the human translation process for the highest quality out there.  

At Bureau Works, our linguists and our technology work together to provide the best possible end-to-end translation experience. Contact our team to learn more about how we can give you the highest quality translations.

Published On: March 10th, 2022 / Categories: Localization Strategy, Product Localization, Translators /

Gabriel Fairman

March 10, 2022

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