Machine Translation and the Arabic Language

As the world becomes more interconnected through the development and advances in technology and travel, people around the world are faced with the challenge of communicating with others who speak a different language than their own.

Machine translation, which is where computer software is used to translate from one language to another, has become an extremely popular method of both understanding the text or speech of another individual and also taking one’s text or speech and converting it to a foreign language.

These services such as Google Translate and Bing, are not by any means a perfect solution, as there are countless phrases, idioms and slang culture that a machine is not necessarily capable of taking into account.

More specifically, MT poses both unique benefits and challenges for languages such as Arabic. Machine translation is a great tool if you simply need to gain a loose grasp of the general idea and concept behind a text or speech excerpt. Due to the fact that Arabic uses a unique script and is a rather complicated language grammatically, machine translators are faced with a more challenging task than if the text needed to be translated from French to English for example. Because of these complications, machine translation should ideally only be used for shorter samples or when looking for a specific piece of information in a document, as differences in grammar can compound on themselves the further a text is developed.

In virtually every case, automatic translation services such as Google Translate will never be able to give you as accurate a translation as a skilled human would. Thus, if the translation you need is for an important cause where you need to be positive that your message is conveyed as accurately as possible, human translation should be the solution that is used.

Furthermore if a translation is being targeted at a consumer as a final product, MT should be avoided at every possible cost. While machine translation will you get you close to most of the ideas in the text, it will not be polished enough to present and will not accurately portray a professional tone.

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