In this issue, Mónica Machado, English into Portuguese Translator, is interviewed about Free Online Machine Translation (MT) Platforms
In this issue, Mónica Machado is interviewed about Free Online Machine Translation (MT) Platforms. What are the plusses and minuses of these new free translation tools that seem to be loved by so many clients and strongly opposed by an equal number of translators and other language professionals? Mónica will give her opinion as a professional translator.
Interviewer – Machine Translation is not a new subject and free online platforms are becoming more and more popular. Why do you think this is?
MM – Free online MT platforms provide translated texts fast. We live in a fast-pace era, where we expect fast results and translation could not be any different from other business areas.
Interviewer – So do you think “being fast” is the only reason for the success of free online machine translation?
MM – “Being fast” is definitely important. Many of the available free online MT platforms are also exactly that… free, which is another plus for many companies that require translations.
Interviewer – So free online MT produces translations fast and free of cost. Any other plusses from your perspective as a professional translator?
MM – Free online MT platforms, like many other Machine Translation tools, release translators for the jobs that require a professional, knowledgeable hand. The advent of Internet led to an enormous need of translations. Material is required to be translated into many languages in a very short space of time. I am quite sure that human translators would not able to cope with the incoming volumes in such a short timeframe. Therefore Machine Translation, by dealing with high volumes of material that can benefit from this new technology, is actually releasing professional translators for the texts that require a different kind of work – e.g. attention to detail, readability, consistency, accuracy and confidentiality, just to name a few. Free online MT is good to give people a rough idea of the content of documents, but in many instances I have experienced is far from being completely accurate and reliable for most businesses.
Interviewer – We all have heard about free online MT not being totally accurate and reliable and there are many examples online that ridicule its use by many well-known companies. However, I believe that the confidentiality of the Free Online MT platforms is an issue that particularly worries you…
MM – Indeed. Free online MT has its uses, its clients and its advantages and disadvantages. Like everything else, you usually get what you pay for and the use of free online MT platforms is no exception to this. The free online versions may not offer their users the confidentiality they require and expect. The terms and conditions of any business are usually long and complex and most of us tend to agree without reading or assume they are looking after our interests by default. This is not always the case. My advice to any people using free online MT platforms is… if you are among those who would require a human translator to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement before he/she accesses your document, do read the terms and conditions of the free online MT platform you are about to use and make sure that your document and information submitted for translation that way will be treated with the confidentiality level you require.
Mónica Machado is an English into European Portuguese translator, specialised in Oil and Gas, Mining and Geology, Environment, Hydroelectric Power, HSE, Shipping and Business Legal Areas, working for Portugal and Portuguese-speaking African countries, such as Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and Sao Tome and Principe.
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