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January 20, 2012 / ABC Translation Services

Solving the Machine Translation Problem

In a recent article in Forbes Magazine, Contributing Author Tim Worstall wrote:

“This is an interesting way of solving the machine translation problem. The problem being of course that machines don’t actually ‘get’ language very well. Don’t appreciate the richness of meaning, understand the rather sly way in which what looks like almost exactly the same phrase can have a very different meaning indeed dependent upon context.

The solution is simply to not have machines doing the translation.”


It seems that the promise of computer or machine based translations has never quite met the expectations. 

In an article titled Computer Based Translation Systems and Tools, author John Hutchins stated: 

“Machine translation (MT) is still better known for its failures than for its successes, and labours under misconceptions and prejudices from the ALPAC report of more than thirty years ago. The idea of developing fully automatic general-purpose systems capable of near-human translation quality has been long abandoned. The aim of MT research and related activities is to produce aids and tools for professional and non-professional translators which exploit the potentials of computers to support human skills and intelligence.”

He continues by saying that current research is now taking place to develop computer systems that support human translations, rather than replace the human element.

At ABC Translations, we specialize in assigning a translator to every project that not only is skilled and professional, but is also a native to the region so that language nuances, cultural differences and preferences, and micro variations in meaning are all captured and never overlooked. 

We like to put it in these terms: You will never notice a great translation. It simply flows as if written originally in that language. Unfortunately, the world is filled with inferior translations – from both machine-based systems and humans, that are obvious due to their inappropriate use of language or the turn of a phrase that just doesn’t sound right.

 With a team of top notch native speaking professional translators, ABC Translations always provides translation services that are so smooth and carefully worded that they are indistinguishable from the original. 

For more information, please visit our website at:

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