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Lebende Sprachen

Zeitschrift für interlinguale und interkulturelle Kommunikation

[Living Languages]

Ed. by Schmitt, Peter A. / Lee-Jahnke, Hannelore

2 Issues per year

CiteScore 2016: 0.04

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.111
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.003

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Volume 60, Issue 2


Who is afraid of MT?

Peter A. Schmitt
Published Online: 2015-10-09 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/les-2015-0010


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.

Keywords: Machine translation; Automatic translation; MT vs. HAT; Google Translate; Translation quality

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.


About the article

Published Online: 2015-10-09

Published in Print: 2015-10-01

Citation Information: Lebende Sprachen, Volume 60, Issue 2, Pages 234–250, ISSN (Online) 1868-0267, ISSN (Print) 0023-9909, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/les-2015-0010.

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