<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >Human vs Machine Translation: Which is Best for Your Website?</span>

Human vs Machine Translation: Which is Best for Your Website?

If you’re a global business - or a soon-to-be global business - translating your website is essential. It will attract a wider audience and make life easier for users, which in turn helps build trust and loyalty towards your brand.

In fact, 76% of consumers prefer to buy products from websites that are in their own language. So not only will your brand awareness and sentiment benefit, but your bottom line will too.

Similarly, translated websites can positively impact your search engine optimization (SEO) in a big way. Translated keywords help make your business, products, and services more discoverable, boosting your SEO and helping you rise up the Google ranks.

There are many ways to translate your website content into other languages, using either humans or machines - or perhaps a little of both.

Some of these ways are quick and easy, some are costly and more time-intensive. But really, the factors in your decision-making will likely depend on your business’s individual requirements.

As a Language Service Provider (LSP) ourselves, it’s no secret that we lean towards the human way of doing things. However, in this article, we’ll look at both the pros and cons of both options to ensure you create a high-quality and accurately translated website. 

Human Translation vs Machine Translation

Human Translation

Human translation is exactly what it sounds like. It’s when a human - likely part of the LSP’s team - translates your website from one language to another. 

It’s an investment, of course, but one that comes with a multitude of rewards, not only for your website users but your business too.

The main benefit of human translation is having content that is contextual for whichever location it’s being read in. 

Machine translation just cannot replicate natural language patterns, puns, idioms, and nuance, which is where humans step in. 

A person who is well-versed in not only the language but the customs and conventions of a place can also bring about content suggestions that apply cultural relevance. This alone creates a better, more personalized user experience.

As well as this, human translation allows for proofreading and quality assurance (QA), so you can be confident that the content you’re sharing is accurate and high quality. 

There are a number of different routes you can choose when it comes to human translation, such as:

Translation, Localization, Transcreation

Translation is simply reworking a website from one language into another. Having a trained expert in this process ensures high-quality and accurate results. 

Localization is a touch more specialist and means going that little bit further. Whether it’s translating into a specific dialect or making sure characteristics and nuances from a particular region are present, it provides context. 

Then we have transcreation, which is ideal for any complex or high-level content as it goes beyond word-for-word translation, with translators wholly reworking the source material, so it is completely unique to that language.

Website Proxy Servers 

A website proxy server is a translation system that acts as a go-between between your original website and a reader’s localized version. 

It essentially reflects the translated content and works automatically by taking note of the user’s IP address and sending the website data to the user in their language. 

Human translators work alongside the proxy developers to ensure everything is accurate.

Multilingual Desktop Publishing

Multilingual desktop publishing translation is when the digital files of your website are translated into multiple languages. This requires the help of designers, as well as translators, to ensure the files and designs remain consistent between languages. 

It’s a complete approach that puts the new audience at the front and center of the design, ensuring everything from the content format to grammar and linguistic choices are culturally relevant and engaging.

Machine Translation

There’s no doubt about it, machine translation is quick and easy. Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools such as Google Translate, it's possible to translate an entire website in just a few clicks of a button. 

Such speed and ease come with drawbacks. These can include poor translation accuracy, formatting errors, spelling and grammar mistakes, and inadequate translation of context and regional language differences.

Having translations that are low quality could hinder the user experience and have people bouncing off your website.

However, if you’re looking for something quick and simple, machine translation may be the way to go:

Text Translation Tools

Google Translate, translate.com, and DeepL are all popular examples of text translation tools. They’re (usually) free, and the premise is simple. Copy and paste the text you want to have translated, select your chosen language, and hit the ‘translate’ button. You’re then given the translated text to be copied and pasted back into your website. 

These websites use AI and machine learning, and while they’re getting more accurate, they still don’t provide any quality assurance or proofreading. This means you don’t really know how precise your translated copy is.

Multilingual Plug-ins

A plug-in is a piece of software you can add to your site that extends its functionality or adds new features. Multilingual plug-ins such as Weglot and Polyang are compatible with most website platforms and enable your content to be translated into a variety of different languages. 

Many argue that they’re more accurate than text translation tools, with more autonomy over what you translate - such as menus and widgets as well as posts and media. Plug-ins tend to come with a monthly cost.

Browser-Based Translation Extensions

From Google Chrome to Firefox and Safari, most browsers have an AI translation extension. These tools work by detecting the user’s location (and thereby their language) and swapping the website’s default language to that. They work in an instant and across the entire website. 

However, this one is on the user to implement, so it doesn’t really offer a great experience. If they don’t have an extension downloaded, then they’re likely to bounce straight off your website and onto someone else’s (that is in their language).

Get a Quote for Your Website Translation Project

When it comes to translating your website into other languages, accuracy, quality, and a great user experience are key. 

Here at LinguaLinx, we have 20 years of professional translation experience, working as the trusted go-to partner for some of the world’s leading companies, institutions, and governments.

If you’re thinking of translating your website, we’d love to talk with you about it. Consultations are free, and there’s no obligation.

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