Why high-quality automatic online translation is a utopia

The development of machine translation in recent years has brought great benefits to society. In many cases, automatic online translators can be very helpful. The emergence and development of this technology accelerates the process of globalization and brings international communication between people and organizations to a new level.

The global exchange of ideas, information, goods and services leads to an exponential growth in the need for translation. Satisfying this demand for translation becomes more difficult and there is a problem of lack of translators. Hence the need for online translation technology emerges.

This technology allows you to read web pages written in another language, or receive information in a language that a person does not understand.

Despite its many advantages, machine translation is not up to the task of translating complex texts such as legal or financial documents, including agreements and contracts.

Machine translation is not a new invention.

It was invented in the 50s of the last century. It has been developing for over 60 years. However, it has not yet been possible to achieve an optimal level of quality to replace human translation with machine translation.

The fact is that human language is one of the most complex human creations. A language is a collective development of millions of people belonging to a particular country or society. The language has been developed over many generations.

If you have tried using an automatic online translator, then you may have noticed that the result leaves much to be desired. Automatic translation can only serve to get a general idea of ​​the text.


One of the problems that translators struggle with every day is synonymy. It occurs when the same word means different things depending on the context. The online machine translator cannot interpret the meaning of a word in context. So he can translate the same term in different ways.

Terminology details

The meaning of terms that are used within a particular field of activity often differ when used colloquially. The field of legal and financial translations is filled with complex terms that cannot be translated into everyday language. Therefore, you cannot translate documents using an online translator for further use as intended.

Polarity reversal

While checking various online translators, we noticed that machine translation often ignores certain syntactic constructs. This leads to the fact that the phrases take on the opposite meaning.

It often happens that negative sentences become positive and vice versa. This effect is called polarity reversal. As an example, you can enter the phrase “replacement of intact parts” into the online translator. Her translation will be just the opposite.

Computers will never completely solve the problem of translation. To take the smallest step towards this audacious goal, they will need to receive significant help from people.

If you need to translate documents correctly, it is better to use the services of professionals.

Dialect differences are especially often ignored: British, American, Canadian, Australian English, and so on. Phenomena such as raglish are also not taken into account (as the English language is jokingly called, which is often written by those for whom Russian is their native language).

So not only machine translation can spoil the statistics of the language presented on the web. Speakers of Russian, Spanish, Japanese, and so on, write in English and flood the Internet with their texts that affect statistics.

Therefore, one of the urgent tasks when creating language corpora is to make it so that the user does not just get an estimate of how many times a given construction occurs in the corpus, but sees possible heterogeneities in its distribution across texts of different types and authors with different sociolinguistic characteristics.

Then the one who uses the corpus as a dictionary, as a reference book, will have the opportunity to objectively evaluate the result.

So machine translation programs are not the only source of the non-standard language usage problem. Today, a huge amount of text on the Internet is generated by so-called bots, there are many advertising sites that generate texts that deceive search engines in order to expand the circle of people who will get to this site through these search programs. The creators of such sites are trying in every possible way to hide the artificiality of the origin of these texts.