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What is electronic translation and why is it important?

What is electronic translation and why is it important?

(Last Updated On: December 7, 2023)

What is electronic translation?

Electronic translation (machine translation), particularly automatic translation through translation engines like Neural Machine Translation (NMT), has revolutionized language conversion. It’s a swift, cost-effective method that relies on algorithms to process and interpret text or speech from one language into another. This technology has gained traction for its efficiency and accessibility. NMT, driven by artificial intelligence, excels at grasping the intricacies of a source language, resulting in more natural-sounding translations in the target language. It operates without human involvement, effortlessly handling complex sentences. While Rule-Based Machine Translation (RBMT) and Statistical Methods are also in use, they differ in their approach, relying on linguistic rules or bilingual databases to generate translations.

Despite the advantages of electronic translation, it’s crucial to recognize its limitations. Professional translators, especially those specializing in technical translations like user guides and manuals, bring invaluable expertise to the table. They understand the nuances of foreign languages and the intricacies of native languages, encompassing regional dialects, cultural references, and poetic expressions. Their skill goes beyond mere word-to-word conversion, ensuring accuracy and context comprehension that automated systems might miss. Human translators can identify errors that software might overlook, guaranteeing precise and culturally sensitive translations. In scenarios requiring accuracy and depth, relying solely on automatic translation might compromise the intended meaning or tone of the original text. Thus, while electronic translation serves as a powerful tool, the expertise of professional translators remains indispensable for high-quality, nuanced translations.

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handheld translator

The benefits of using an electronic translator

Using an electronic translator offers numerous benefits over using traditional human translators. You can benefit from an electronic translator’s speed and accuracy. Translations done by a machine are usually quicker and more precise than a human’s. An electronic translator can also help you save time and money since it can do bulk translations faster than hiring a human translator. Additionally, electronic translators can store and utilize translation memories, keeping translators from entering the exact phrases multiple times. Unlike the human brain, electronic translators are not limited by language pairs. This means you can use an electronic translator for any language combination you need, unlike a human, who can only do specific language pairs. Overall, electronic translators are faster, more accurate, and more affordable than human translators, making them the perfect choice for any language project.

The features of electronic translators

When it comes to electronic translators, various features are available to you. Many electronic translators can translate written text into different languages quickly and accurately. With advanced translation technology, some electronic translators also offer speech recognition capabilities, allowing you to use voice commands to produce translations. Additionally, some electronic translators include a built-in dictionary so that you can look up unfamiliar words or phrases in the target language. Other helpful features include an automatic spell checker, an extensive database of synonyms and definitions, and a customizable user interface. For frequent users, some electronic translators even have GPS tracking capabilities so that you can quickly locate nearby restaurants and attractions in your destination country.

portable translator

The types of electronic translators

Several types of electronic translators are available on the market today, catering to diverse translation needs. These include handheld translators, online translators, and software-based translators. Handheld translators, often favored for their portability and ease of use, are prevalent. They serve the purpose of expert translators by facilitating the translation of text from one language to another. With display screens for text input and providing translations, some models even incorporate real-time audio capabilities for spoken translations. Online translators, functioning as translation services, operate as web-based applications, translating text from various sources such as websites, documents, emails, and other text-based content. Their accuracy relies on the quality of the translation services provided by the agency behind them. Software-based translators, akin to professional translation services, are applications installed on devices, utilizing machine translation engines and algorithms. They aim to deliver precise translations even for less commonly used languages or technical documents. Prices for these electronic translators vary, with handheld ones ranging from $50 to $500, software-based translators costing between $30 and $300, and online translators often available for free, though some might require a subscription fee for enhanced features. These tools cater to diverse target markets seeking accurate and reliable translation solutions.

See also our post about How machine translation works for Dutch Translation.

Difference between electronics and human translators

Electronic translators are becoming increasingly popular today but are no substitute for human translators. Though electronic translators can accurately translate simple texts, they lack the nuanced understanding of language only a human translator can provide. Human translators better understand the cultural context and local slang, which can lead to more accurate translations. Human translators also can recognize when a word or phrase has multiple meanings, allowing them to choose the correct translation based on the context of the sentence. Furthermore, human translators can use their expertise to make creative changes to the translation that help keep the intended meaning intact.

In addition to these differences, electronic translators typically take much longer to provide a translation than a human translator. Electronic translations must be programmed with every possible combination of words and phrases that could arise. At the same time, a human translator can quickly interpret the language used and make decisions on how to translate it accurately. While electronic translators have come a long way in recent years and can provide quick translations in many scenarios, they will never completely replace human translators. Human translators are far superior at delivering accurate translations with appropriate nuances and cultural context, so they remain in high demand for many translations. Read more about What is a Human Translation?

The prices of electronic translators

Human translators ensure accuracy and precision from medical documents to legal contracts, often saving time and money. However, with the rise of technology, many businesses are now turning to electronic translators as a cost-effective solution. Electronic translators are automated services that can quickly translate text from one language to another. They are generally available as desktop software or web-based applications, making them easy for businesses to access regardless of geographic location. Additionally, these services are significantly cheaper than hiring a human translator for large-scale projects.


What is electronic translation, and how does it differ from traditional translation methods?

Electronic translation uses software or computer algorithms to automatically translate text from one language to another. This differs from conventional translation methods, involving human translators who interpret and translate text manually.

How does electronic translation work?

Electronic translation relies on complex algorithms and software that analyze the text to be translated and compare it to a database of language rules, grammar structures, and vocabulary. Based on this analysis, the software generates a translation that is meant to be as accurate as possible.

Why is electronic translation meaningful?

The electronic translation is necessary because it allows for faster and more efficient translation of large volumes of text. It can also be a cost-effective solution for businesses and organizations that need to translate content regularly but cannot afford to hire human translators. Additionally, electronic translation can help break down language barriers and facilitate communication between people who speak different languages.

What are the limitations of electronic translation?

Electronic translation has limitations, including difficulty accurately translating idiomatic expressions, slang, and technical jargon. Additionally, electronic translation may struggle with complex sentence structures or nuanced language that requires a human translator’s expertise.

Can electronic translation replace human translators?

While electronic translation is a valuable tool for quickly and efficiently translating large volumes of text, it cannot completely replace human translators. Human translators can understand context, cultural nuances, and colloquial expressions in ways that electronic translation software cannot. Therefore, human translation is still necessary for accurate and high-quality translations of essential documents and content.

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