To make better purchases and better decisions, stakeholders these days expect almost instant access to information available in the languages they read. As a result, businesses and governments across the globe (maybe yours too?) are steadily turning to Machine Translation to translate websites, articles, reports, manuals and other high volumes of text, particularly when time is of the essence. And why wouldn’t they? Machine translation (MT) today is fast, cost effective and increasingly accurate. For many situations, it’s become the preferred solution to meet the demands of international business.
With the advent of neural machine translation (NMT), machine translation has become more accurate by leaps and bounds. However, it doesn’t yet match the quality of a translation performed by a good human translator. In the meantime, there are two methods that can be used to greatly improve the quality of a machine translation.
First, machine translation can be edited and improved by human hands. Responsive Translation provides human-edited machine translation on demand, a service where our highly-qualified human translators and editors use their linguistic expertise to improve machine translation quality and offer audiences a better reading experience.
Second, content can be written with machine translation in mind. Less complicated and less ambiguous texts have a greater chance at achieving a higher quality result with machine translation. If you choose this option, you will want to keep the following guidelines handy.
Keep It Short and Simple
KISS was originally a 1960’s design principle for the US Navy, but the little maxim is as relevant as ever when applied to writing for machine translation. Keep your sentences short and simple. Break any long sentences up into two or more sentences. Writing 20-25 words per sentence is a good rule of thumb, but equally important is to avoid ambiguity. Always write clearly, directly and with purpose.
Human readers can often be forgiving and will gloss over a spelling error or two without missing a beat. However, machine translation isn’t so forgiving. It’s vital that your writing is free of spelling errors so that your words can be machine translated correctly. Always use spell check and edit your work.
Mind Your Punctuation
The sentences “Let’s eat, Grandma.” and “Let’s eat Grandma.” are the stuff Internet memes are made of, but those errors in machine translation aren’t so funny. Good machine translation depends on you (as the author of the original text) to punctuate your writing correctly.
Stay Away from Slang and Idioms
Slang and idioms are two common spices in the writer’s toolbox. However, if you’re writing for machine translation, you’ll want to keep those spices tucked away. Machine translation does not typically handle slang and idioms well. Use a simpler, more literal version of your idea. As an example, try the word “remember…” instead of the phrase “keep in mind…”
Responsive Translation helps organizations around the world communicate with their stakeholders in more than 200 languages and dialects. We provide translation, interpreting, editing and other foreign-language services, including our new human-edited translation service.
For an instant translation quote, please use our quote form. You can also learn more about our range of services by getting in touch at 212-818-1102 ext 208 or [email protected]