Localization Insights
Localization Insights

How does AI Translation Work + Best AI Translation Tools (2024)

Artificial intelligence (AI) translation is an innovative field of computer science that enables machines to interpret and automatically translate text, and audio from one language to another using sophisticated algorithms and data-driven models. By utilizing neural networks, AI translation tools can detect patterns in data and accurately translate text from one language to another.

AI translation technology has the potential to revolutionize the way we communicate by eliminating language barriers and making it easier to access information across different cultures. AI translation tools leverage advanced algorithms to learn from existing translations and use them to provide accurate and natural-sounding translations. 

AI translation tools can also adjust the tone and context of the translation, ensuring that the text’s original intent is preserved. Not only is AI translation faster and more accurate than traditional translation methods, but it can also offer more nuanced interpretations of the text or audio, taking into account the context and cultural relevance of the language. 

With AI-driven translation tools, language barriers are no longer an issue, and communication between many different languages, cultures and countries is now easier than ever.

What is AI Translation

AI language translation refers to the application of artificial intelligence (AI) techniques to facilitate the process of translating text or speech from one language to another. This innovative approach combines the power of AI and translation, allowing algorithms to analyze and comprehend linguistic nuances for accurate results. With AI and translation working together, the process becomes more efficient and effective.

Translation AI systems leverage neural networks and deep learning to enhance their understanding of context and language structure. As a result, they can provide high-quality text translations now, improving cross-lingual communication. In summary, AI translation is a pivotal advancement that merges AI and translation, leading to more precise and contextually relevant language translations.

The Evolution of AI Translation

AI translation has come a long way in a short period. In the past, translations were done by human translators, which meant that the translation quality depended on the translator’s experience and expertise. In just the last few years, AI-driven translation tools have become far more accurate and reliable than ever before.

With AI translation, translations are done automatically and with much higher accuracy and speed. And with the help of neural networks, the accuracy and speed of AI translations are continually improving. AI translators can now handle multiple languages and dialects, and it’s even being used in real-time to facilitate conversations between people who don’t speak the same language.

While technology has quickly evolved, it still has its limitations. There are more than 7,000 spoken languages in the world. Although 3,000 of these are so-called low-resource languages that rely on the spoken world alone, the rest all have their own writing systems. 

Although these codified languages are much easier to translate in theory, automatic translation can’t be readily applied to most of them. Google Translate and Microsoft Translator each support around 100 languages, while DeepL supports translations in around 30 languages. 

While common language pairs like English and Spanish are widely supported, low-resource languages aren’t as easy to come by. However, AI is making bridging the language gap between commonly spoken and low-resource ones a very real possibility. 

best AI translation service

Current AI Translation Technologies

In recent years, advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have enabled the development of powerful translation technologies in the following ways:

  • AI translation systems use complex algorithms to quickly and accurately translate text from one language to another. These systems can learn from past translations to better understand the source language and accurately convey the meaning in the target language.
  • AI also allows for the creation of adaptive translation engines that can improve over time as they are exposed to more data, allowing for better accuracy and more natural-sounding translations.
  • AI-powered translation systems are able to handle large volumes of text quickly and efficiently, with minimal manual intervention.
  • AI translation technologies can quickly and accurately translate webpages, documents, and other written texts.
  • Project managers can program artificial intelligence systems to carry out basic localization, taking into account tones of voice, fluency, and even some cultural aspects. They can also apply branding guidelines across content batches.

In sum, AI translation technologies are beneficial for businesses that need to expand their outreach and make their content available to a wider audience. As the technology continues to evolve, we expect to see more innovative uses for AI translation.

The Future of AI Translation

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has revolutionized many aspects of our lives, from healthcare to transportation. One of the most impressive applications of AI is in the field of translation.

So, what does the future of AI translation look like? AI-driven translation tools are already being used to help people communicate across languages, providing real-time translation with minimal effort. As AI technology improves, its impact on translation will only grow.

The focus will be on providing an even more natural and nuanced translation than is currently available. AI-powered tools are also expected to become more intuitive, allowing users, including those with minimal language knowledge, to use the technology and quickly and easily create translations with minimal effort. 

Nowadays, it’s becoming easier for international businesses to overcome language barriers. AI now takes care of complicated tasks that were once the sole responsibility of human linguists. Machine learning, a specific type of AI, now makes it possible for computers to make more informed decisions and apply self-learning principles to these decisions.

Finally, AI translation tools are expected to become more personalized, allowing users to customize their translations to suit their needs better. In essence, AI translation software will become faster and more efficient, streamlining the translation process and providing businesses with faster turnaround times.

However, this doesn’t mean that AI tools will replace humans overnight. While AI is very powerful, translation systems still cannot replicate the cognitive processes of human writers and readers. AI can’t tell jokes or use colloquialisms like human beings. It doesn’t have the sense of style and fluency that real-world writers possess. AI translation systems also depend on human users to provide them with contextual meaning and introduce them to natural language and new vocabulary. This is often referred to as AI enablement. 

Benefits of AI Translation

AI Translation has many benefits, making it a great resource for businesses and individuals alike. Its perks include: 

  • One of the primary advantages of AI Translation is its accuracy. AI-powered algorithms can produce translations that are as accurate as human translators.
  • AI Translation is also faster than manual translation, saving time and money. Another benefit of AI Translation is its scalability. The best AI language tools are capable of transcreating large volumes of texts without the financial overheads associated with human translators. In some cases, human translators can perform quality control tasks for digital batches, radically reducing the cost of localization.
  • With AI Translation, businesses can quickly and easily translate large amounts of content into multiple languages, making it perfect for global expansion. Moreover, AI-based translation tools can deliver instant translations for travelers when they are most needed. For example, they are well-suited to understanding menus written in foreign languages, or for deciphering street signs.
  • AI translation can also automatically optimize content for SEO, helping businesses reach more customers with their content.
  • AI translators can act as invaluable assistants to real world translators. They can provide instant feedback when writers are transcreating advertising copy, or analyze large amounts of content to provide feedback on batch translations. They can also flag up issues relating to tone of voice that older digital translators might miss.
  • AI translation can support multiple languages in a single workflow, eliminating the need for manual translations across multiple languages.

AI translation is quickly becoming the industry standard for businesses looking to quickly, accurately, and cost-effectively communicate with their customers in multiple languages.

However, there are potential negatives as well:

  • Cultural misunderstandings – AI translators may be more accurate than ever, but they aren’t humans with a deep knowledge of local cultures. Accurate translations can still be misleading or offensive to local people, and humor is something that computers aren’t well-equipped to analyze.
  • Complexity – Good content is clear to begin with, but some texts have to be complex, such as technical manuals. AI translation tools can struggle with source texts that are obscure or ambiguous. That’s why the solutions may not be ideal for precision translation where technical jargon is involved.
  • Blandness – Computers are exceptionally good at repetitive tasks with clear outputs, but they aren’t good at making texts engaging and fun to read. Texts made using AI translation can often be bland and neutral. That’s sometimes a good thing, but branding requires personality, and that needs to be supplied by humans.

With those pros and cons in mind, what should AI translation actually be used for?

AI is suited to several roles in the localization process, but not as the sole translator. Instead, most transcreation and translation services harness the power of machine learning to supplement the work of humans.

AI can act as a quality control mechanism, automatically checking human texts for errors. AI can decide when texts can be completed by machines, and which ones should be assigned to humans. Analyzing the number of ambiguous or “fuzzy” phrases provides a good snapshot of how easy a text is to translate.

Human translators can benefit from continuous AI assistance, with translation tools making real-time suggestions. They can also provide metrics regarding completed texts which analyze aspects of translation quality.

Think of AI translation as a way to make human translators smarter and projects easier to manage. These attributes are great for companies seeking to localize their content.

Not all translation tasks are suited to AI translation tools. As we noted earlier, projects characterized by high levels of complexity and technical language are less suited. Legal and scientific terms can pose unique challenges to machine learning systems, and skilled humans will generally perform more reliably.

AI is often used by companies in their customer service operations. For instance, companies regularly employ Microsoft’s LUIS tools to localize customer assistance without using large numbers of human operators.

AI has a role in many editing and QA operations. It’s not necessarily a tool to use when translating documents. It’s better suited to checking translations and monitoring the quality of localization campaigns.

AI translation assistance is sure to develop rapidly in line with broader AI technology, and AI is growing incredibly fast. Global investment in AI soared from $12.75 billion in 2015 to $67.8 billion in 2020 and the machine translation market is growing at approximately 19% every year.

What Is Neural Machine Translation?

Neural Machine Translation (NMT) is an artificial intelligence-based technology that automatically converts text or speech from one language to another. NMT uses a deep neural network to understand the context and meaning of a sentence before translating it. This technology uses deep learning algorithms to analyze the structure and meaning of the source language and then generate a translation in the target language, which is often more accurate than traditional machine translation, which relies on word-by-word translations. 

NMT is a translation management system, becoming increasingly popular as it can provide accurate and reliable translations in real-time, making it a great tool for businesses and organizations that need to translate documents, websites, and customer service conversations quickly. It can also be used to help bridge language barriers between people, making international communication easier and more efficient.

With NMT, there’s no need to rely on human translators, and it can vastly reduce the time and cost of international communication. All in all, NMT is an impressive technology with a promising future.

Can computers develop these skills?

Absolutely, and they eventually will. But in the meantime, AI is flourishing as a helpmate for translators and a way to make their work more effective.

MT and NMT: Where’s the Other 6%?

Machine translation (MT) has existed for two decades, but since then the localization industry has made the leap from MT’s statistical-based translation to NMT’s neural network-based translation. This technological progress improved the quality of machine translations so much that they became a viable solution for many industries. Cost-effective, quicker, and more accurate than ever, NMT began the localization revolution, enabling global companies to translate content at an unprecedented scale. When done well, NMT can reach 94% of the quality of human translation. But that still leaves 6% room for improvement. Enter NMTPE…

What is Machine Translation Post-Editing?

Today, when most people say they use MT, they’re really referring to NMTPE – Neural Machine Translation Post-Editing. Although the old, simpler name is the one that stuck, NMTPE uses machine translation, which can handle large volumes of text, and then follows it up with a review by professional, human translators. It’s faster and cheaper than having a person do all the work, but still has that human touch that makes the final result sound like a native speaker wrote it.

Scaling up with NMTPE

The speed and quality of NMTPE today make it a terrific option for all types of translation, including website translation, manuals, and even customer correspondence. Excellent translations, human review, and individualized brand glossaries to ensure consistency make NMTPE practically indistinguishable from human translation.

It also makes scaling a business significantly less costly. Editing a high-quality machine translation is significantly faster than translating from scratch. That means that the human translators working on NMTPE get through more content in the same amount of time.

With advanced translation engines, the total cost of translation is easily 30% lower than when using human-only translation.

For some industries, NMTPE is quickly becoming the standard translation method of choice. For example, eCommerce and tourism both rely heavily on NMTPE over human-only translation for their content. Companies like eBay and Booking.com have invested impressive resources into maximizing this translation tool. With the user-generated content that both industries use, volumes are so large as to make it nearly impossible for human translators to keep up.

Companies in other industries, such as gaming, can only incorporate NMTPE as a small percentage of their overall translation strategy. Especially for more sophisticated games, dialogue and other in-game texts are nuanced and tone of voice is important. Machines still can’t get it quite right.


Choosing the Translation Engine

There are a lot of translation engines on the market, and different ones are more adept with specific languages or industries. Therefore, the ideal choice of translation engine changes for every industry, topic, style, and language pair. Nonetheless, many organizations use only one translation engine. For example, the EU, which publishes content in 24 official languages, still uses only one translation engine for all language pairs and types of content.

To guarantee top-quality translations, BLEND tests 2-3 translation engines for every new client or project type before having human reviewers – native speakers of the target language – choose which one produced the best results. Then, the same engine is used for that client and content type going forward.

Translation Memory & Machine Learning

Hosted on the BLEND self-service platform, the translation memory is vital to brand consistency. With a customizable glossary based on past translations, it guarantees that CTAs, H1 headers, taglines, and legal terms are exactly how you want them, every time. For large-scale clients with massive amounts of data, machine learning is also used at this stage. This takes advantage of dedicated translation engines that are customized over time. 

Human Translators

The final step is putting together a team of dedicated, hand-picked translation editors. These professional translators are prescreened, encouraged to communicate directly with the client, and given regular training about the client’s goals, services, and business model. By using the same post-editors for each project, the translators learn the company’s preferences and refine the translation memory. This, in turn, means less work for the translators, which leads to even faster results and lower costs.

Curious to learn more on this topics? Read about AI translation vs. human translation: pros and cons, translation services industry in the age of AI, and AI-driven machine translation techniques to stay informed. Also, check out the top translation software, and innovative MT applications articles that cover all the latest news in the world of AI and translation.

Trust BLEND for All Your AI Translation Needs

At BLEND, we understand the importance of accurate AI translations for businesses and organizations worldwide. BLEND’s innovative technology is designed to ensure accuracy, speed, and reliability. That’s why we offer a comprehensive AI translation service that delivers top-notch results. 

BLEND’s AI technology is powered by the latest advances in machine learning and neural networks, providing the most accurate translations available. We also provide human-led post-editing services to ensure the highest quality results. Our team of experienced linguists and translators can review and refine your translations, providing the polish and nuance that only a human can provide. 

And with our user-friendly platform, you can easily manage and monitor your projects from start to finish. From large-scale business needs to smaller personal translation tasks, BLEND is your go-to AI translation provider. 

Get in touch today to explore the huge potential of artificial intelligence. To learn more about our translation technology, click on this page. The translation is smarter than ever, and at BLEND we are ready to help you achieve your localization goals.

author post

Fouad Habash

As BLEND’s Localization Solutions Engineer, Fouad is a seasoned expert in translation technologies, including TMS, CAT tools, AI and MT. With over 14 years of industry experience, Fouad ensures our clients receive the best and most efficient localization processes.


Need fast, high-quality translation?

Translate now

Get in Touch

Looking to natively embed your presence in new world markets? Speak with a representative today to discuss the perfect BLEND of localization services.