Best Practices

Is AI really helpful to my translation process?

While human touch remains irreplaceable for creating emotional context, combining AI translations tools adds a win-win to language services
Thalita Lima
8 min
Table of Contents


Is AI really helpful to my translation process?

Breaking down prejudices about using AI

Is AI really helpful to my translation process?

~> AI can help us with the repetitive parts

~> Time-saving

~> Combination leads to perfection

~> Empowering people skills and approach with AI

~> Consistent team translations


~> Cost-benefits

How to integrate AI translations into your workflow?

1. Start slow

2. Use effective management systems

3. Use AI as a reviewer to get suggestions

4. Use AI as a project draft

In terms of speed, technology acts more quickly in translation and text production than a human translator. The difference is almost a quarter of the time, with AI having the advantage, as shown in the graph below.

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The big debate, however, has never been just about time. The most difficult discussions around the use of AI for translations and other language services are always qualitative.

Is AI really helpful to your translation process?

Right off the bat, the answer is yes. When we talk about AI, we are talking about the development of systems capable of performing tasks that would typically require human intelligence, such as translation and other language services.

In this regard, AI brings gains in time, money, and efficiency. But why is there still resistance to its use? Let's understand more about this.

Breaking down prejudices about using AI 

Let’s be honest, the prejudice against AI did not start with ChatGPT. Machine translations such as Google Translator, Deep L, Amazon and their predecessors have already suffered from that. 

"Inferior", “unreliable”, "easily identifiable" or “a tool for those who do not want to do the job” are expressions used to put the use of AI in the translation process in the last option.

The truth is, even with prejudices, people still have been trying these tools. Experimenting them, eventually enjoying the experience, but remaining afraid to admit that in some cases it isn't 100% clear whether it's human content or AI content. 

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Blocking the AI use does not help in gaining control over it.

If you're an “AI pro” in your company, you may be challenging yourself to convince your team that implementing AI is a good choice. What is the best argument?

Is AI really helpful to my translation process? 

Going directly to the golden question that led you here: what are the pros of using AI in the translation project?

The most popular arguments in favor:

~> AI can help us with the repetitive parts

Let’s face the fact that AI can translate correctly without human help, and even more cautiously. Working in large scale translation projects, for example, there are parts that are worth saving effort. 

Why waste your best skill on predictable parts? AI translations can do that, helping with blocks of texts.

~> Time-saving

Time-saving is a real advantage when using AI. This may be the most known argument. 

But the thing is: this is real when you are using a management system that allows you to do all the tasks of your project translation on the same platform. 

If you need to switch screens, copying and pasting texts, maybe you are not really saving time, or at least not in an efficient way.

~> Combination leads to perfection

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The title speaks by itself. Using AI as part of your workflow, not as a substitute.

You can convince your team that by combining both machine and human insights, the group can focus on perfecting the content. It can be a win-win. 

~> Empowering people skills and approach with AI

AI is not likely to steal jobs as some people used to think. Instead, its enhancement will prioritize in the market those who know how to use the tools. There is no escape.

The answer here is, again, adapt!

Companies can empower the teams to deal with AI translation and be able to take charge of translations, as long as the management systems have interfaces that are intuitive and inclusive to learn and evolve.

~> Consistent team translations

Anyone who has tried to do a group writing project knows how difficult it is to reach a consensus. 

You write a text, your colleague adds to it using words that don't match the style of what’s written, and a third colleague comes in to change entire sentences, turning the text into a real Frankenstein. Has this ever happened to you?

Translations can also be problematic in a team if everyone is copying and pasting the text into Google Docs to make their changes.

However, with an integrated machine translation system, this work becomes easier. Why? Because artificial intelligence has the sensitivity to recognize textual unity. Of course, a human does too. But when this task passes through many hands, human error is more likely.

So, let's suppose you make the first translation of a text using AI. Your colleague, who edits this text next, using the same platform, will see suggestions indicating, for example, that if you translated “business companies” into Spanish as “empresas de negocios,” it doesn’t make sense to change it halfway through the text to “sociedades comerciales.” 

~> Cost-benefits

There’s no denying that AI raising is good for industry tech, LSP and companies. But it’s good for translators and agencies industries too. 

All segments can thrive by using new tech, as long as they have a good approach

How to integrate AI translations into your workflow?

  1. Start slow

Growing in steps can be a piece of advice. How so? You don’t need to translate 100% of your text using machine translation at first – if you’re still afraid of reliability. 

You can start testing the tools, experimenting. What about translating ⅓ of the project? And then ½? 

  1. Use effective management systems

Using translation in the processes is not about testing ChatGPT, ok? The effective use of AI translations is done within a platform that integrates tools allowing you perform the tasks you need along the project. 

It includes inputting the text, feeding the glossary with vocabulary pertinent to your project, and enriching the translation memories. This means using a translation management system, like BWX.

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  1. Use AI as a reviewer to get suggestions

The CAT tool will offer you suggestions of terms, words and sentences. Like when you give a text to a reviewer to “go over with a fine-tooth comb." This helps you to realize if you are making coherent choices that match with the context of the project and communication goals.As more data is added to the platform, it will learn and be able to offer better and better suggestions. 

  1. Use AI as a project draft

Using AI to build your project draft still means you will be the final-editor. You’ll be using the AI-suggestions to do what you call “pre-translation”, getting a pre-filled document. From that, you can edit and put tons of authorship.This might incorporate all the tips stated before, because it puts the human touch in command of the workflow.People tend to prefer content they believe was written by humans. It’s like a placebo. Just the belief that it was made by humans instead of AI gives it more credibility and clicks. It impacts the content traffic, as you see in the graphic below. 

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The thing is: while machine translations are developing and the tech industry is working to deliver accuracy, we are still debating outdated topics.

AI won’t replace human work for a simple explanation: this isn't actually a competition.

So, yes, AI is helpful to the translation process and other language services. And yes, humans are still the most suitable for creating an emotional context in writing.  

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Thalita Lima
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