Machine translation is the use of software to translate content from one language to another. It differs from computer-aided translation in that the software itself completes the task itself, rather than serving as a human-operated tool. The process can differ in degrees of accuracy and complexity. The most rudimentary form involves simply swapping words between the origin and target languages, taking basic grammar into consideration. Most robust forms can handle variables such as non-standard speech, idioms, and conditional logic.
There is a common belief that machine translation is not suitable for commercial translation. In the past this was true, and is still now is certain situations. However, there are times when it is beneficial compared to manual human translation.
Do you need a translation done by tomorrow? If there isn’t someone available immediately, you might want to run it through a machine then proofread it after.
It’s not as expensive
There are many cheap or free tools available. They might not all be suitable to every job, but where appropriate software is usually less expensive than humans.
It’s great for repetitive or similar translation jobs
If you find yourself translating the same strings of language over and over again, it’s perhaps a better idea to store these strings in a machine translator and let the software take care of it for future jobs.
Sometimes information must be kept inside an organisation which might not staff translators. Using machine translation reduces the number of eyes that see private content.