A guide about the three main translation methods



People think they know how translation works. You take words from one language and make them understandable in another language. Of course, depending on the language and culture, some words and terms may be more difficult to translate, but, overall, a translation should be a fairly simple process, shouldn’t it?

Human Translation vs. Machine Translation vs. Post-Edited Machine Translation
HT vs. MT vs. EMT

With this thought in mind, you start researching on having your content translated, and in the process realize that it is not as simple as you thought. Out of the blue, you come across acronyms and terms that have no idea what they mean. HT, MET, MT, what? Someone please calls a translator!

In this post, we’ll simplify the differences of a machine translation, post-edited machine translation, and a human translation and show you how they work in the real world, so you can choose the right method and the best supplier for your project.


The three main types of translation:

HT, MET and MT. If you do not speak the acronym language, you will not know what they mean. So, let us introduce you to these terms.


HT (human translation)

HT is the oldest form of translation depending solely on human intelligence to convert words and terms. It also continues to be the method that generates the best-quality translation because no machine can capture the nuances of language, meaning and culture, as a professional and experienced human translator can. However, technological innovation has raised the translation to a whole new level with crowdsourcing systems.


A crowdsourcing system works like this:

In a translation agency, a traditional HT process includes agency translators or freelancers working alone or in small groups to manage files manually. However, organizing multiple translators can become a problem when it comes to large projects, and that’s where crowdsourcing systems come in. They use thousands of translators working simultaneously on digital texts within a platform that coordinates and manages the project.

Crowdsourcing translation techniques not only solve the problem of an organization but could also reduce the cost of human translation.


MT (machine translation)

MT, in the most basic form, is what Google Translate does – it’s a software-based process that translates content from one language to another.

Problems come up (as anyone who has used Google Translate knows) when words have several different meanings or connotations. Quality and linguistic accuracy vary depending on the translation software and how it was tuned.

The main benefit of MT is that a machine can do in minutes what would take hours for a human translator, which makes this the cheapest translation method out of the three.


EMT (post-edited machine translation)

Often, MET is used to combine the speed of machine translation and the quality of human translation, so translators analyze, edit and improve the automatically translated texts. EMT services cost more than automatic translations, but less than a 100% human translation, especially because publishers don’t need to be fluently bilingual. They only need to be qualified reviewers with some experience in the target language and region.

A successful translation is more than just the translation of words, and that’s why we defend not only the human translation made by skilled linguists but also those made by people who understand the cultures for which they are writing.

Life experience, study, and knowledge that comes only from living in one place can make the difference between words that are understandable and a language that can have a real and positive impact.


Choosing the right solution and the right provider can be complex and stressful. We at Magma offer the best service in the market, with quality translations and specialized professionals. Get in touch with our team and get the best translation on the market.



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