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Online translation in 2021: AI vs humans

The simple existence of both human and AI translation doesn’t make them enemies. Vice versa, it’s great if you combine these types to get the best from each of them.

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The world has changed a lot since COVID-19 has come into existence — both individuals and companies now need to adapt to the new realities. For offline businesses it became evident that it would be too challenging, if not impossible, to survive without going online.

To pull through lockdown struggles, businesses realized that becoming worldwide online brands had become an emergency must. Thus, using professional translation online tools has been strongly rooted as a new expense in a company’s budget.    

Today translation and localization services are a necessity, not a choice. Companies usually choose from two types of translation: human and AI. But which one to choose to translate the content at the lowest cost but still preserve the high quality and get the maximum value?

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of both of these translation types.

Human translation

Human translation, as it’s clear from the name, is done by people. Even though it’s believed that AI can replace translators, human translation is still prevalent.

  • People know the context. Context is one of the essentials for the correct translation and localization. 
  • People are creative. To make the content engaging, it’s necessary to be creative and understand the local context. 
  • People have expertise in narrow domains. When it comes to specific topics, like engineering or medicine, people have more knowledge and can explain even the most difficult things in an easy-to-understand manner. 


  • Human translation is quite expensive. Comparing human translation to AI, the first one is more expensive. This can become an obstacle for startups.
  • Human factor. People are more prone to make mistakes, especially when they work on monotonous tasks. 

AI translation

AI translation involves software and tools created specifically for text translation purposes.


  • AI translation is fast. It can take 10 minutes to translate all the texts a company needs, which means a quick turnaround time. 
  • It’s cheap. There are a lot of free tools such as Google Translate or Skype Translator, so your company can spend 0$ for translating the texts needed.


  • Inaccuracy. Even though AI translation becomes more and more sophisticated every month, it’s still less accurate than humans, especially in terms of context and creativity.
  • AI doesn’t get the context. Context is everything, especially for localization purposes. Thus, AI translation is not the best option from this point of view.  
  • Too literal translation. A key to successful localization is not in simple translation. To make text look local, literal translation won’t suit.  

The simple existence of both human and AI translation doesn’t make them enemies. Vice versa, it’s great if you combine these types to get the best from each of them. 

Today, more and more companies use a mix of AI and human translation: they translate with the help of machines, but humans proofread translated text to make it sound local, creative, and fit the context and tone for 100%. 

Connect AI with humans, translate texts with accuracy and speed, and make your business rock in the new markets!

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Chris has been blogging since the early days of the internet. He primarily focuses on topics related to tech, business, marketing, and pretty much anything else that revolves around tech. When he's not writing, you can find him noodling around on a guitar or cooking up a mean storm for friends and family.

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