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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter October 9, 2015

Who is afraid of MT?

  • Peter A. Schmitt EMAIL logo
From the journal Lebende Sprachen


Machine translation (MT) is experiencing a renaissance. On one hand, machine translation is becoming more common and used in ever larger scale, on the other hand many translators have an almost hostile attitude towards machine translation programs and those translators who use MT as a tool. Either it is assumed that the MT can never be as good as a human translation or machine translation is viewed as the ultimate enemy of the translator and as a job killer. The article discusses with various examples the limits and possibilities of machine translation. It demonstrates that machine translation can be better than human translations – even if they were made by experienced professional translators. The paper also reports the results of a test that showed that translation customers must expect that even well-known and expensive translation service providers deliver a quality that is on par with poor MT. Overall, it is argued that machine translation programs are no more and no less than an additional tool with which the translation industry can satisfy certain requirements. This abstract was also – as the entire article – automatically translated into English.


A German version of this paper was presented at the FIT XXWorld Congress in Berlin on August 5, 2014 (Schmitt 2014), this English version was presented at the 4th Translation and Localization Conference on March 27, 2015 in Warsaw.


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Online erschienen: 2015-10-9
Erschienen im Druck: 2015-10-1

© 2015 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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