What Is Automatic Language Translation? Your Ultimate Guide to Translation Automation

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Written by

Adedamola Ojedokun

ICYMI, automatic language translation, is a baller tech that can help you pwn your competitors and yeet them out of the market.

If you have trouble deciphering the sentence above, you aren’t alone. But alas, all of these sus words have been recently added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Including sus.

It means that automatic language translation tools should be able to translate them. And they are. We’ve tried.

We knew it won’t take much convincing to make you consider using automatic language translation. But if you need another gentle nudge, we are happy to oblige.

Read on to learn:

Pro tip: Automate your translation process by using a localization management platform – Centus. The platform leverages machine translation, translation memory, and terminology databases to offer accurate and consistent translations. Learn more.

What Is Automatic Language Translation?

What Is Automatic Language Translation?

Automatic language translation (ALT), often known as machine translation (MT), is software-enabled translation without human intervention.

Although ALT has been around for centuries, technology has only recently improved to the point where it can provide precise and fluent translations.

The two approaches used in automatic language translation systems are statistical machine translation (SMT) and neural machine translation (NMT).

Automated vs automatic translations: Is there any difference?

Automated translation and automatic translation are used interchangeably in language translation.

While the two processes may appear to be identical, there are small differences between them that can have a substantial impact on the accuracy and quality of the translated content.

Automated translation

Automated translation involves the use of machine translation systems to automatically convert text from one language to another without human intervention.

These systems, which are usually based on algorithms and statistical models, do not require the assistance of human translators to support the automatic translation process.

  • Automated translations can produce fast results, making them ideal for straightforward and quick website translation projects.

  • Since automated translation systems, such as Google Translate, do not require the help of human translators, they are typically less expensive for basic translation needs.

  • Free online translation tools allow users to quickly translate texts, regardless of linguistic proficiency.

  • Since automated translations lack the nuances and cultural understanding that human translators can bring the final output is often inaccurate.

  • Errors may occur when translating complex or context-dependent texts since automated machine translation software may struggle to recognize context.

  • Some automated translation programs may not support lesser-used languages, limiting their use to specific locations.

Automatic translation

Automatic translation also uses technology to translate languages, but it is more sophisticated. Artificial intelligence (AI) and neural machine translation (NMT) algorithms are commonly used in automatic translation systems.

When compared to automated translation, these advanced systems can learn from massive volumes of data and contextual knowledge, allowing them to provide more accurate and contextually relevant translations.

  • Automatic translation systems leveraging AI and NMT can attain higher levels of accuracy by considering context and linguistic nuances.

  • AI capabilities enable automatic translation systems to understand the context and provide more contextually suitable translations.

  • AI-powered translation systems can learn and update their knowledge on the go, enhancing translation quality over time.

  • The implementation and maintenance of AI-based translation systems can be more complicated and costly.

  • Training automatic translation models requires a significant amount of data and computational resources, making the initial setup more difficult.

  • Although automatic translation systems have evolved, they may still require periodic human reviews to ensure quality control.

How Automatic Translation Works

Here's an overview of how automatic translation works:

Data collection and training

Massive volumes of language data are at the heart of automatic translation systems. These systems require bilingual data to train translation models, which contain pairs of sentences in the source language and their matching translations in the target language.

The larger and more diverse the dataset, the better the model's performance will be. Data sources can range from professionally translated text to internet-based user-generated content.

Machine learning and neural networks

To analyze and understand linguistic patterns, modern automatic translation systems use machine learning algorithms. Specifically, neural networks.

The model learns to recognize patterns and relationships between words and phrases in multiple languages during the training process.

Natural language processing (NLP)

Automatic translation systems interpret and evaluate the meaning of phrases in both the source and target languages using natural language processing techniques.

It allows the model to understand grammatical structures, idiomatic expressions, and context, all of which are necessary for providing reliable translations.

Encoder-decoder architecture processing

The encoder in an encoder-decoder architecture analyzes the input text in the source language, changing it into a numerical representation known as a "thought vector" or "embedding," which the decoder then uses to generate the translation in the target language.

Attention mechanism engagement

Attention mechanisms are used in automatic translation models to handle longer and more complicated texts.

This method helps the model focus on relevant elements of the source text while creating the associated translation, thereby improving the accuracy and fluency of the output.

Training and fine-tuning

The automatic translation model is fine-tuned after the initial training phase. The model is exposed to more data and input from human translators during this step to improve its performance on specific language pairs or domains.

Post-editing and quality control

While machine translation has greatly improved, it is not without flaws.

Post-editing is usually carried out by human translators or multilingual experts to ensure high-quality translations. They examine and modify the output (especially for sensitive and critical content) to make it more accurate and natural-sounding.

Online integration and real-time translation

Automatic translation services have become widely available online with the advancement of cloud computing and AI technology.

Many systems and applications incorporate automatic translation to provide real-time language translation, allowing users to rapidly access content in their preferred language.

Benefits of Automatic Language Translation

Automatic language translation technology has revolutionized the way humans connect across languages and cultures.

Here are the key benefits of automatic translation:

Facilitating global communication

conversation between people

Source: Unsplash

Automatic language translation offers a clear advantage in breaking down language barriers and facilitating global communication.

With the help of automatic translation, you can easily chat and share ideas with teams from different linguistic backgrounds.

Enabling cross-cultural collaboration

enabling cross-cultural collaboration

Source: Unsplash

Cross-cultural collaboration becomes increasingly vital as businesses and organizations expand their reach worldwide.

Automatic translation plays a crucial role in facilitating collaboration between teams and partners from different countries, making it easier to work together on global initiatives.

By blending diverse perspectives and ideas, this not only enhances efficiency but also fosters innovation.

Increasing accessibility of information

people looking at phones

Source: Pexels

The internet serves as an extensive informational resource, but language barriers often hinder non-native speakers from accessing a significant portion of its content.

Automatic language translation is a vital solution to bridge this communication gap and expand the audience for information.

Researchers, students, and information seekers can now access valuable content in their native languages, regardless of the original language of the information.

Streamlining multilingual customer support

streamlining multilingual customer support

Source: Pexels

For businesses operating on a global scale, providing multilingual customer care can be a logistical challenge.

Thanks to real-time translation services provided by automatic translation, customer care agents can now communicate with customers in their native languages.

This, in turn, enhances customer satisfaction and loyalty, as clients feel valued when they can easily interact with the business in their preferred language.

Enhancing international business opportunities

enhancing international business opportunities

Source: Unsplash

Automatic language translation proves to be an effective tool for companies seeking to target markets outside their home countries.

It empowers businesses to enter new markets and communicate efficiently with prospective clients in diverse geographic locations.

Through translation and localization of products and services, businesses can provide their target audience with a tailored experience, gaining a competitive edge in the global market.

8 Best Practices for Implementing Automatic Translations

Automatic language translation has transformed the way we collaborate across borders, but like with any technology, proper implementation is required to achieve the best results.

Here are best practices to get the most out of automatic translations:

Choose the right translation tool

centus dashboard

Ensure you choose the right translation tool to successfully implement automatic language translation.

There are several automatic translation tools and APIs available, each with its pros and cons. Take the time to compare different options. Look for tools that support several languages, have positive user reviews, and can handle the exact content you need to translate.

Pro tip: Use a localization management platform Centus to automate, manage, and test translations. Learn more.

Customize translation preferences

Many translation tools allow you to customize them to match your brand's voice and style. Use these tools to ensure consistency across your translated text.

Ensure that the translations align with your company's tone, values, and personality so that the essence of your message is preserved regardless of language.

Regularly update and review translations

Since languages are dynamic and constantly evolving, it is critical to keep your translations up-to-date. Review and update the translated text regularly to ensure it remains relevant and culturally appropriate.

Keeping track of the changes in automatic translation technologies can improve the quality of your translations since they improve over time.

Provide language-specific content

Keep in mind that each language and culture have its preferences and nuances. Adapt your content to meet the needs of each target audience. What works well in one language may not work so well in another.

By delivering language-specific content, you express respect for your audience's diversity and provide a more personalized experience.

Run quality assurance tests

Conduct extensive quality assurance checks before deploying the translated content. Review terms for linguistic accuracy, context accuracy, and consistency.

This stage ensures that your translated content is of the same high quality as your original content.

Consider user feedback

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User input can help improve your translations over time. Encourage your users to report any translation difficulties they encounter on your multilingual websites or apps.

Listen to their feedback and use it to improve the accuracy and usability of your automatic translations.

Maintain multilingual SEO strategies

If your website is in multiple languages, ensure that multilingual SEO strategies are in place. To improve your website's visibility and search engine ranking in different countries, tailor keywords and meta tags to each language.

Stay open to continuous improvement

Automatic language translation technology is always evolving. Stay informed of the latest developments and be open to new features and upgrades.

Embracing technological innovations ensures that your translations stay ahead of the curve and provide the best possible experience for your audience.

When to Use Automatic Translation On Your Website? 5 Use Cases

So, you've heard about automatic language translation and find the idea of reaching a larger international audience without the time and effort of manual translations intriguing.

However, before adopting automatic translation, you need to understand when to use this tool. Here are some scenarios where you can use automatic translations on your website:

Use case #1: Rapid information sharing across borders

Picture this: You run a blog, and your most recent post is gaining a lot of attention from readers all around the world. You want to ensure that everyone understands and enjoys your content.

This is when automatic translation comes in to save the day.

By including automatic translations on your website, you instantly break down language barriers, making your blog more accessible to a global audience. It's like having a multilingual superhero at your disposal.

Use case #2: Entering international markets

Expansion into international markets can be transformative, but it can also be challenging. This is where automatic translation may serve as a global guide.

Use automatic translation to test the waters before investing in expensive manual translations. It's a great way to test interest and get input from potential clients all over the world.

Consider it a multilingual market research helper, helping you determine which markets to embrace.

Use case #3: Multilingual customer support

You've amassed a sizable customer base and are now ready to take on the world. However, with consumers from different language backgrounds contacting you for help, you may find it hard to communicate effectively.

Not to worry! Automatic translation can act as your linguistic liaison, helping you communicate efficiently with customers. You can easily provide multilingual customer assistance, allowing you to focus on making your customers happy no matter where they are.

Use case #4: Speedy content translation

The world moves at the speed of light, and so should your website. Automatic translation is the way to go when you need to send urgent information to your audience across several multilingual regions.

Automatic translation can help you convey information quickly and efficiently, whether it's breaking news, time-sensitive announcements, or limited-time incentives. This will transform your website into a multilingual bulletin board in real time.

Use case #5: Multicultural collaboration and networking

people pointing at a screen

Implement automatic language translation when you need to collaborate and network with multicultural teams.

Collaborating with international partners, influencers, or other content creators can open up a world of opportunities.

You can easily bridge the language gap and create meaningful connections with people from different cultures by using automatic translation. It's like a magical communication wand, connecting you with like-minded people all around the globe.

To Sum Up

Automatic language translation is a game-changing technology that can break down language barriers and promote collaboration with international teams.

Adopting this technology while remaining aware of its limitations and applying best practices will definitely result in a more connected and inclusive world where language is no longer a barrier to understanding and collaboration.

Automate translation, streamline translation management, facilitate collaboration, and conduct quality assurance for multilingual content with the professional localization management suite – Centus. Learn more.


What is the difference between machine translation and automatic translation?

Machine translation is the process of translating text from one language to another using software. This can be achieved using different methods, including statistical machine translation, rule-based machine translation, and neural machine translation.

Automatic translation encompasses the entire process of translating text from one language to another, including machine translation, human translation, and post-editing.

What are the benefits of automatic language translation?

There are many benefits to using automatic language translation, including:

  • It can be less expensive than human translation, especially for large amounts of text.

  • It is faster than human translation since computers can process text faster than humans.

  • It can improve access to information for people who do not speak the original language.

What are the limitations of automatic translation?

The limitations of automatic language translation are grammatical, syntactic, and semantic inaccuracies.

Most commonly, automatic language translation tools struggle with accurately translating idiomatic expressions or cultural references.

How can I improve the accuracy of automatic translations?

You can increase the accuracy of automatic translations by:

  • Using a top-quality machine translation service

  • Providing error-free, clear, and concise source text

  • Thoroughly reviewing the translated text

What are the different types of automatic language translation?

The main types of automatic translation include:

  • Statistical machine translation

  • Rule-based machine translation

  • Neural machine translation

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