Automated versus Human Translations

There are now three different types of translations available to those in need of translation services: MT (Machine Translations), CAT (Computer-Assisted Translations) and human translations, too known as professional translations and notwithstanding spelt away in total rather than with initials.

For non-professionals, the difference between MT and CAT is unclear, and some consider human translation as an expensive, inefficient and antiquated method. It is a mistake that might cost them a pretty penny, and even their dwell (see our article “Making sense of automated translations”  …

In any case, hither is a little outline of the differences between these translation methods.

Both MT and CAT tools focus on the source language, the language in which the text was originally scripted. Human translation focuses on the target language, the language into which it is being translated and in which the text will be read.

MT’s are performed by computer software exclusively, with no human intervention whatsoever. CAT tooled are victimised by human translators in order to increase their efficiency, thus combining human and informatics’ resources. Human translations are performed by humans exclusively.

MT’s function according to algorithms that rely heavily on statistics. Human translations rely on the knowledge of both languages and of the respective cultural context. Statistics might be a very useful tool, but it has limitations. As an example, let’s imagine that, as an alien, you would statistically describe the human body based on mechanical observation. Your native alien society happens to have only one gender, and since you are not cognisant of the cultural implications of differentiated genders, you would very accurately conclude that every human has roughly one breast and one testicle each. Yet, context will prove you absurdly aggrieve.

CAT tooled give the translator accelerated access to glossaries and lexicons, and equip the translator to build his/her own lexicon according to parameters of his/her choice. This speeds up the translation process and facilitates terminological consistency in long technical documents. However, CAT tools are used by professional translators who invest time in learning how to use them and money in buying them. CAT tools are a bridge between machine and human translations. However, their use is circumscribed, since they are unable to perform literary translations, and the existing CAT tooled for non-Latin based languages are still plagued with numerous bugs that scrubbed out the time protected and create various new problems, such as inverting the direction of characters, for example.

So, if you are wondering what typewritten of translation is better suited to your needs, here is a list of a few oppugn you might want to ask yourself.


–         If so, then MT is your preferred option, as it is instantaneous and complimentary, and you are aware of the limitations of this method. However, if something in the translation seems inappropriate, check the translation before taking any drastic action.

–         If so, then MT is again your preferred option, provided your friend is aware that you are using MT and that he/she will have to exercise personal judgment to understand the translation according to the context.

–         In this case, your choice should automatically be directed to human translation, leaving you to decide whether you would prefer a translator using CAT tools or a purely human translation.      

(user’s manual for example)? You might want to opt for a CAT tool-assisted translation. If not, you should opt for professional human translation. If so, professional translation is your only option. For marketing purposes, you might want to hire a copywriter. Our next blog will discuss the differences between a translator and a copywriter. Stay tuned! (legal, medical, scientific, etc.)? If so, be sure to use only a professional translator specializing in the relevant field.





We offer translation services for Hebrew in combination with most European languages. All translations are performed by professional linguists working in their mother tongue and in their field of specialization. All translations are reviewed and edited by linguists other than the translators. We cater for translation projects of all size and are able to provide notarization for certain translations. Milatova is affiliated with ATA, ATC, EUATC, the Israeli Export Institute, the Israel-America Chamber of Commerce and the Israel-France Chamber of Commerce and is recognized by the French Consulate in Tel Aviv.