Let’s be frank: we’re a language service provider (LSP) and we would love to tell you that our services are essential for every project. However, sometimes “good enough” is just that… satisfactory and suitable for your needs. Here are four distinct situations in which you can (and cannot) cut corners with Google’s pretty good machine translation (MT) engine.
Sometimes, you just need to communicate basic, straightforward information with your multinational team. Grammar doesn’t have to be perfect, word choice can be a little wonky, and the translation can be void of a brand voice. In these cases, throwing your content into a MT engine and copy and pasting it over will work. If you don’t have the time or want to ensure no miscommunication, then we suggest…
Light MT Post-Editing
The cheapest service offered by LSPs, light post-editing is the process in which a native proofreader edits the raw MT to ensure that it is syntactically and lexically perfect. This is ideal for spreadsheets, labels, and certain internal emails where flow and fluency don’t particularly matter.
Heavy MT Post-Editing
When you have straightforward content that is going to represent your brand, such as user guides, product listings, personnel handbooks, or annual reports, we suggest employing heavy MT post-editing. One step further than light MTPE, heavy MTPE guarantees appropriate style and fluency. If you have a Style Guide and Glossary that need to be implemented in your content, this is the MT option for you.
There are some projects that LSPs won’t machine translate, such as books, marketing campaigns, scripts, or anything containing colloquial language. In these instances, MT might not only sound bad, but it might reflect poorly on your brand and lose you customers. While we believe that cost-effective MT has its time and place, it’s not an end-all solution.
Not sure in which camp your project falls? Contact us for a free creative consultation!