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Why Human Translation is important

Updated: Feb 8

Publication date: 26/07/2023

What human translation is

As you can see in the illustration above, human translation relies on the use of textual resources. Basically, it is the act of translating without the help of any sort of device, software, or machine. In fact, only books, corpuses and dictionaries are allowed (collocation dictionaries and specialized lexical dictionaries included).

Now let’s see the opposite term “Computer/Machine translation”.

Computer/Machine translation

Computer translation is an automatic Translation as it refers to translation fueled by automatic translation software. For example, some of them are Google Translate, Reverso, DeepL, and WordReference. If you still don’t know what we are talking about, just be aware that you are using it much more than you think. Let’s say that you are in a new country and you don’t know how to say something. Then you decide to open your Reverso app and translate a phrase through it. So, this is an automatic translation.

Now, you have probably figured out why human translation is so important, but don’t worry if you haven’t. We have prepared a non-exhaustive detailed list to explain why.

Reasons why you should opt for Human translation

1) Automatic translation often lacks accuracy

man and woman with their heads turned against each other showing importance of accurate translation

This one is much more of a reason why you should not use automatic translation instead of an advantage of human translation. Automatic translation tends to be too literal. This is the reason why software such as Google Translate doesn't shine by the way they translate expressions and idioms. I am not telling you to constantly walk around in a new country with a two-languages dictionary in your pocket. However, don’t blindly trust machine translation. Literal translations could cause misunderstandings or even worse.

2) Don’t be lazy

The second point is directly linked to the first one, and much more specific. Let’s say that you are a translator or just a student in this domain and you were given a task in translation. At first, you may think that it will be easier and faster to use an automatic translator but trust me, you are wrong. You should always start the translation process all by yourself and then use automatic software. This way you enhance your translation in terms of vocabulary. Therefore, things like syntax or grammar are fundamental so you should not let automatic translation take care of it.

Grammar book for human translation  on the table


As a future translator, I would give you this advice: combine human and Computer-Assisted-Translation (C.A.T). This way you will get both advantages. Using human translation will allow you to gain clarity and accuracy in your translations. On the other hand, CAT tools with functionalities such as word frequency counting will help you save time doing redundant tasks for you.


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