How can you translate your online learning content effectively? What does it take to render your technology-enabled learning content quickly, with minimum expenditure? Well, you need to go in for a Machine Translation (MT) system.
What is a Machine Translation (MT) system?
A MT system is a computer-based application that automatically translates any sentence in the source language into the target language. However, the abilities of most MT systems in the market are limited, compared to human translators. They are primarily used to produce draft translations of online courses. MT software help ensure consistency in the translation of terms, and this goes a long way in making e-learning translations faster, cheaper, and better.
How to select the right MT software for translating your online course?
Organizations need to consider 4 aspects when they zero-in on an MT system to render their technology-enabled learning materials into the desired languages. Let us see what they are.
1. Ease of customizing the MT system
The efficiency of an MT system is a function of its comprehension of the vocabulary and grammatical structure of the content to be translated. For example, an MT system may “understand” 100,000 words and 75,000 sentence structures, but will not be of much use if the terms and sentence structures in the translatable e-learning content do not overlap with what the system understands. In most cases, firms need to customize MT systems to ensure they comprehend the terminology and sentence patterns used in their online learning content. It is important to choose an MT system that can work with minimal customization.
2. Support to languages
Companies need to understand that all MT systems do not provide the same quality of output for a given pair of languages. For instance, some MT software may be efficient in translating English text into Spanish and vice-versa, while others may be more effective dealing with French and Arabic. The post Unlock the Potential of Machine Translation points out that most MT systems have lesser capabilities when it comes to Asian languages. You need to choose an MT system that fully supports all the source-target language combinations to produce good translations of your e-learning courses.
3. MT system’s dictionary
An MT system relies heavily on its dictionary to translate content. If the e-learning content has many words unknown to the system, the quality of its translation could take a beating. Therefore, it is important to select an MT system that contains a dictionary with the right words. Many vendors offer MT systems with “specialized” dictionaries, catering to various domains such as banking, healthcare, and so on.
4. Ability to work with other MT systems and human translators
In many cases, MT systems need to work in tandem with other machine translation software and human translators.The Localization Industry Standards Association (LISA), in its whitepaper, Best Practice Guide: Implementing Machine Translation advises firms to focus on consistency when more than one type of translation is required. For instance, when a combination of human and machine translators is used to translate an e-learning course, there could be terminological inconsistencies, leading to output of poor quality. Similar problems could arise when two or more MT systems are employed in a translation project. To overcome these problems, firms need to choose MT systems which support standards such as OLIF and TBX.
MT systems help translators produce high quality e-learning translations, quickly, with minimum expenditure. You need to focus on 4 important aspects when you zero-in on an MT system.
- Ease of customizing the MT system
- Support provided to languages
- The MT system’s dictionary
- Ability to work with other MT tools and human translators
Hope you find this post interesting. How do you use MT software? We’d love to know.