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Artificial Intelligence

Today, the effects of Artificial Intelligence are increasing in all industries and the translation industry is no exception. So where are we now? And how can you decide whether to use AI or a professional translator?

15 March 2024 | Share:

Since ancient times, translators have used external sources (paper dictionaries, colleagues etc.) to integrate to their knowledge so as to translate better.

First, while it’s true that you can use AI for free or nearly, it’s equally true that, of course professional translators have been using AI from the outset and still charge for the service.

Assuming that pros do actually provide added value for the services they provide, here are some tips to help you decide whether you need to invest in paying for them.

It all depends on your needs. Let’s look at some.

  • You don’t know the target language and you need to look up a word, a sector term or perhaps a short phrase: use AI such as DeepL. If you don’t know the language, you have no way of checking the accuracy, so it’s important that you don’t use the translation for anything important (work etc.)
  • You know the target language and need to look up a word, a term or phrase: again, try using an AI resource such as DeepL. Now, use it to find synonyms and alternatives. So if the word you’re looking for is on the tip of your tongue, using DeepL you can click on the word it suggests to see a list of alternatives. Hopefully, you’ll find your preferred word there!
  • You need a document translated for work/professional reasons but you will use it “internally”. The source text is a foreign language but the target is your language: again, use a good AI tool such as DeepL. For a small fee, it will let you process a full document.
    Caution! The result will be comprehensible and look good for the most part, however it will be far from perfect and will have errors and misunderstandings, and a lot of words and stylistic register errors that are not appropriate. But if your goal is to understand the source material, that may be enough for you.
  • You need a document to be translated for external use: perhaps a company presentation, a product data-sheet/manual, an annual report, blog/social media, website, product launch. Here, the last thing you can afford to do is “save”. It will be a boomerang and you will risk showing your product/company in a bad light. You definitely need a human professional, someone who knows how to use AI (if useful), perhaps to speed up part of the process. However, your translator will want to be concentrating their energy on those parts that cannot be assisted artificially, including: emphasis, nuances of meaning, rhythm, tone of voice, register (formal, colloquial etc.)


If you adhere to these guidelines, you can optimise your needs and costs. If you try to use AI for documents used externally, you do so at your peril!

I hope this is useful – if you need any advice, do get in touch.

Enjoy and good luck!


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