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What is Machine Translation?

The translation of text by a computer, with no human involvement

Increase productivity by translating faster with machine translation

Using machine translation as part of the SDL Trados Studio environment, you can translate more content and deliver it faster than before.

SDL Trados Studio software extends the capabilities of machine translation to include support for several machine translation engines.

What is machine translation?

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Machine translation (MT) is the translation of text by a computer, with no human involvement. Pioneered in the 1950s, machine translation can also be referred to as automated translation, automatic or instant translation.

How does machine translation work?

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There are three types of machine translation system: rules-based, statistical and neural:

  • Rules-based systems use a combination of language and grammar rules plus dictionaries for common words. Specialist dictionaries are created to focus on certain industries or disciplines. Rules-based systems typically deliver consistent translations with accurate terminology when trained with specialist dictionaries.
  • Statistical systems have no knowledge of language rules. Instead they "learn" to translate by analysing large amounts of data for each language pair. They can be trained for specific industries or disciplines using additional data relevant to the sector needed. Typically statistical systems deliver more fluent-sounding but less consistent translations.
  • Neural Machine Translation (NMT) is a new approach that makes machines learn to translate through one large neural network (multiple processing devices modeled on the brain). The approach has become increasingly popular amongst MT researchers and developers, as trained NMT systems have begun to show better translation performance in many language pairs compared to the phrase-based statistical machine translation approach.

When would I use machine translation?

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When translating with SDL Trados Studio, any segments not leveraged from translation memory can automatically be machine translated for a translator to review, then accept and amend if necessary, or decide to manually translate instead. A translator can configure how much machine translation is used and which machine translation engines to use.

Respecting client confidentiality

If the projects you work on are commercially sensitive, your customer may require that information is not disclosed to any third parties.  Carefully consider how and when to use machine translation as you could be sharing segments of the source with a third party.

Audit files are automatically generated by SDL Trados Studio which record the use of machine translation.

What machine translation can I use?

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SDL Trados Studio supports a number of machine translation engines that are available over an internet connection. The machine translation solution provided by SDL is SDL Language Cloud Machine Translation. You can choose between various options when choosing your machine translation solution. Starting with a free package of baseline (untrained) translation up to industry specific trained engines, we have an option that is right for you.

You can use AdaptiveMT, our self-learning machine translation from within SDL Trados Studio 2017. AdaptiveMT works via SDL Language Cloud MT and learns from your edits in real-time as you translate.

What are the benefits to translators of using machine translation?

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Increased productivity – deliver translations faster

  • Use freely available machine translation to pre-translate new segments that are not leveraged from translation memory. 
  • Connect to and use a customer's or supplier's trained engine through the industry specific machine translation solution SDL Language Cloud Machine Translation to achieve better quality results every time.

Flexibility and choice – to suit all types of project

  • Select from a number of different machine translation engines.
  • Choose from over 100 languages and more than 2,500 language pairs to suit your project.
  • The option to compare the results of rules-based and statistical machine translation engines.
  • Learn more about our machine translation solution SDL Language Cloud