Technology has changed the way things get done in the world. It has allowed people to do things that otherwise would be difficult or even impossible to accomplish. With advances in technology, people across many different countries and continents have benefited from being able to leverage new technology to create better platforms to communicate and understand each other, even in different languages. Current technology, like Google Translate, allows people to easily translate information from one language to another from their computer, tablet or smartphone. This is a great tool for personal translation but lacks many components that businesses require in their translating needs. Because of the increase in global competition, it is important for businesses to be able to understand both the language and culture of the countries they are looking to business in. For this reason it is important to understand the differences between machine translation and human translation and the benefits that can be derived from both, in order to know the best solution that will help you fulfill your business needs.

Time of Translation

Because machine translation is executed through computer software, it often takes only seconds or fractions of seconds to complete the translation. In many cases, being able to translate something in only a few seconds can serve you well, like when you are looking to translate a memo of a business partner from a different country, or trying to translate the information from a competitor’s website into a different language. For reasons like this, it is very helpful to have this tool on hand to get a general understanding of the information you need.

On the other hand, human translation is a longer process, which is done by a professional who understands the context of the language being translated. This is a manual process andobviously can take more time based on the amount of content being translated. Though human translation does take longer than machine translation, for most business purposes human translation will be required in order to get the job done correctly.

Quality of Translation

The flip side of machine translation’s time to translate is the fact that the quality of its translation usually isn’t all that great. There are tens of thousands of words in each language and one wordcan have several different meanings based on the context in which it is used. Because machine translation uses artificial intelligence from a computer software to do the translation, it can’t understand the context in which the language is being spoken and thus usually results in something less than an excellent quality translation. Though as mentioned before, there are times that getting a general understanding of the information being translated can be of value,this method should not be used for most business needs, such as communications directly with your client, or the message you are trying to convey through your marketing efforts.

A qualified translator on the other hand, such as translators from professional translation firms, will understand both the context of the language being translated, as well as the culture of the language to which the content is being translated. This is very important when communicating directly with business partners, clients, or potential customers, as one wrong message can hurt your company’s brand and reputation, as well as its bottom line.

​Cost of Translation

There are many machine translation solutions available with relatively cheap upfront costs, with some of these solutions even available for free on the internet. Take advantage of these cheap and free solutions to do your personal or research translation. But be warned, don’t try and use this solution for other business needs as the costs of using a machine translation to fulfill other business needs could result in offended clients, lost customers, and damaged brand reputation. These are all costs that need to be carefully considered when doing your business translation.

Human translation is a variable cost, based on the amount of content that you need translated. This means that the more translation you need, the more you are going to need to pay. In the long run though, it will help your company earn more money by getting the translation done correctly the first time through good quality and the correct message based on the context and culture of the people with whom your business is interacting. To assure this happens, consider hiring a professional translation firm, which has the expertise and experience to successfully navigate the translation of business content into the language of the market you are looking to do business.


Both machine and human translation have benefits to you and your business, based on the specific circumstances you are dealing with. Look to take advantage of the low upfront costs and quick translation times of machine translation for your personal and research translation needs, which can help you get a general understanding of what a business partner or client maybe saying in a different language. Likewise, look to save you and your company lot’s of time, money and headaches by hiring professional translators for other business needs when necessary. Remember your company’s growth, brand, reputation, and bottom line depend on it!