How to Integrate Machine Translation Into Your Business

Last Updated: 

December 29, 2023

The majority of large businesses worldwide have made use of machine translation for international expansion. With the rise of MT solutions, companies started to perceive machine translation as a tool for expanding into new markets faster while keeping costs down. 

However, when it comes to incorporating machine translation into globalisation efforts, many businesses struggle to find a strategy that works for their objectives and operational requirements.

If your company is one of them, you have come to the right place. Use the tips provided in this article to implement machine translation into your business with confidence and steer clear of expensive errors down the road.

Key Takeaways on Integrating Machine Learning into Your Business:

  1. Select Machine Translation Software: Choose a machine translation solution that suits your specific needs, considering content type and language pair. Leading providers include Google, Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon Web Services. Opt for software that can be trained for specific data sets and subjects.
  2. Run a Test: Before fully implementing a machine translation system, test its accuracy with a sample text that represents your typical content. Have the output reviewed by experts to identify any content problems or inaccuracies.
  3. Check the Privacy Policy: Understand how your machine translation provider handles and secures personal data. Ensure the chosen technology meets your confidentiality requirements and understand how your data is used and stored.
  4. Take Advantage of Customisation: Seek machine translation systems that offer customisation to your business needs. Customisation is key for accuracy in business-specific language but requires a substantial amount of existing translation data (ideally 20,000 or more translation memory segments).
  5. Have a Post-Editing Team: Employ experienced professionals for MT post-editing. This role requires a unique skill set to assess machine translation output, focusing on both grammatical correctness and accurate representation of the source text.
  6. Final Thoughts: Be prepared for a period of adjustment and improvement after deploying machine translation software. Some projects may be more successful than others initially, but with ongoing training and tuning, the system will improve and provide long-term benefits.

These takeaways provide a comprehensive guide for businesses looking to integrate machine translation effectively, emphasising the importance of careful selection, testing, privacy considerations, customisation, and skilled post-editing.

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1. Select Machine Translation Software

Modern machine translation solutions for corporate use are available as cloud-subscription services. Leading organisations in this sector include Google, Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon Web Services.

When choosing machine translation software, keep in mind that the quality will depend on the type of content and language pair. For best results, use machine translation software that automatically chooses the best machine translation engine for your specific needs in any given project. There is no one piece of software with capabilities that is specifically built to fit your content type perfectly, but the best MT engines can be trained for specific data sets and subjects.  

2. Run a Test

Whatever you do, do not just blindly believe a machine translation provider when they say their system produces "almost human quality of translation." The best course of action is to run a test and check the results for accuracy on your own. 

Take a sample text that is between 1,000 and 2,000 words long and that exemplifies the genre of writing and the subject matter you want to be translated. The output quality should then be reviewed by experts, such as technical writers or experienced translators, as today's machine translations sometimes seem intelligible and reliable, but upon closer examination, serious content problems or inaccurate references can be found.

3. Check the Privacy Policy

Examine carefully your machine translation provider's policy on the use and security of personal data. You should be aware of how your data is stored and what happens to it. Make sure the technology you've chosen satisfies any confidentiality requirements you may have.

For instance, Google's translation service makes it clear that it only uses the text supplied for translation to carry out the translation function. However, it is not obvious how Google uses the data provided to the tool’s free version or if the data in any way affects business choices.

4. Take Advantage of Customisation

Not all MT suppliers offer systems that are customised to your business needs. These tools use the same resources to translate everything from technical documentation to poetry. For this reason, when your texts are translated using MT, the accuracy of your business language can be compromised.

To gain optimal effectiveness, machine translation software must be trained for a particular objective. Customisation services come in handy in this situation, but your business is actually only eligible for them if it already has a sizable collection of translation data. You should ideally have 20,000 or more translation memory segments available.

Machine Learning in Business
Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash 

5. Have a Post-Editing Team

Thanks to constant advances in quality, MT post-editing has become one of the key benefits of machine translation as a strong substitute for translating a text from scratch. To get the most out of it, you must rely on experienced professionals who are familiar with, skilled in, or at least receptive to the notion of MT post-editing. 

Post-editing is slightly different than translation and calls for a unique set of skills. Machine translation post-editors must be able to decide quickly whether to keep or discard a certain MT output. In addition, they must pay attention to detail since even when MT output is grammatically flawless, it may not accurately translate the source text.

Final thoughts

Once you have deployed the machine translation software, bear in mind that the outcomes might not meet your expectations immediately. Some of your projects will be successful, others not so much, but try not to get disheartened. With training and tuning, your machine translation solution will get better over time, and long-term benefits will increase as your team processes more MT projects.

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