Human Translation vs Machine Translation

Human Translation vs. Machine Translation: What Is the Difference?

  • Categories: Translation
  • Written By: Torjoman
  • Date: June 23, 2023

As the world is becoming more interconnected than ever thanks to globalization and the advances in technology, the need to communicate with people from different parts of the world has increased significantly. One of the most important keys to effective communication among people from different geographical regions is bridging the language barriers. This can only be achieved through translation services.

Human translators have been around for decades to provide accurate translation services in multiple languages. However, technological advancements have no end to the extent that they even affected this highly demandable field seriously by introducing ever-evolving translation tools that imitate the human brain to offer natural translations similar to those produced by humans.

The machine translation industry is growing rapidly by applying artificial intelligence and natural language processing to understand source texts and convert them into multiple languages. Despite their advantages, machine translation tools still have their drawbacks.

In this blog post, we will explore the differences between machine translation and human-powered translation and how they can be combined to reach a better solution. Let’s dig deeper into it!

What Is the Difference between Human Translation and Machine Translation?

Machine translations are highly advanced tools that apply artificial intelligence and language processing to identify source texts and translate them into other languages. In fact, machine translation tools are developing themselves day after day by using machine learning algorithms to improve the quality and accuracy of translations, and they are expected to replace many translation jobs in the future.

Here are some of the key benefits of machine translations:


Machine translations can convert large volumes of text with only one click with acceptable quality and accuracy. This can be very handy for businesses expanding to multilingual markets and needing a fast solution to translate their user manuals and documents instead of waiting for days and weeks to have them translated by a human translator or a language service provider. Machine translations provide a fast and timely solution for such businesses with the required quality and consistency.


There is no doubt that hiring human translators will cost you more than using machine translation tools. Businesses often look for translation solutions that are affordable due to the huge amount of text they always need to translate, especially if they are breaking into new markets. In this case, they prefer to use machine translations due to their cost-effectiveness compared to human translators who charge them more.


Although the accuracy of machine translation is still doubted, their accuracy has been more remarkably improved than ever before due to the use of advanced machine translation algorithms. They can imitate the works of the human brain such as understanding how to put certain phrases and words in their right contexts.

Now, after we have discussed the advantages of machine translations, let’s explain those of human translations.

Human translations are those that are generated manually by humans without the intervention of any technological tools. The translators only use their dictionaries, experience, and knowledge to transfer texts from one language to another.

Although hiring a human translator or a translation agency will definitely cost you more than using a machine translation tool, you will get more accurate and higher-quality translation services. Here are some of the benefits of human translations:

Understanding the Nuances of the Language

Although machine translations are continuously evolving to produce high-quality translations, they still did not reach the human level in terms of identifying the nuances of each language. Each language has its own linguistic and cultural nuances which machine translations can hardly understand and address while converting texts.

Only experienced human translators can translate and localize texts to make them resonate with their target audiences. This is most applicable in localization where mere translation will never serve the business and marketing purposes. In localization, human translators need to adapt texts to look natural for target audiences.

Providing More Accurate Translations

Machine translations may not understand idioms, metaphors, or any other culturally related expressions that usually exist in marketing and literary texts. Human translators are knowledgeable of the culture of each language and know well how to find alternatives in the target language. Thus, machine translation tools lack the cultural sensitivity required for quality translations.

Translating Legal and Medical Texts

Some industries such as the legal and the medical ones have their own languages and terminologies which machine translations are not good at understanding and selecting. Only human translators that have subject-matter expertise in those fields are able to translate and produce first-rate legal, medical, and any other industry-specific translation solutions.

How to Combine Human Translation with Machine Translation to Enhance Translation Quality

If you are a business owner and need a fast and cost-effective solution to translate your business materials into multiple languages and maximize translation accuracy at the same time, you can combine both machine translation with human translation. This can work by having the machine transition tool translate your documents and then hiring a human translator or translation agency to handle the reviewing process. This is called a “Post-editing” process. This will certainly cost you less than hiring a human translator to translate the project from scratch and ensure that the final output has the highest levels of accuracy and precision.

In a nutshell, machine translation is very useful when you need fast solutions to translate less creative texts such as user manuals where style and tone do not matter much. Yet, if you need 100% accuracy, human translation wins in this case. All in all, you can take advantage of both while saving your time and money by having your machine-translated texts reviewed by human translators.

If you are an international company and decided to take advantage of translation, look no further than Torjoman! At Torjoman, we can help you choose the best solution that serves your business objectives. Request a quote now!

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