Lots of clients seem confused by the terms MT and CAT, given that both terms sound quite similar and the lack of familiarity gives room tomisunderstanding; but the difference in results is very obvious
Machine Translation is fast and cheap, but seldom accurate
A very well-known example is Google Translate; the said translation is accomplished by feeding a text to a computer algorithm that would render the translated version in seconds. There is no human agency involved.
It has several advantages, such as speed and cost, and it has been improving its accuracy in certain language combinations, such as Swedish to English, or Spanish to English. But for longer or convoluted texts the results are far from optimal. Likewise for many other language combinations, such as Burmese or Mongolian where there is obviously much less text available online and the algorithm can render some risible results.
The tendency of hiring a “post-translation editor” to analyze the draft translation and correct the errors is understandable but in many instances the said editors would request the original text in order to make sense of the text they have before them, wasting everyone’s time in the process.
Machine translation, as its current stage, is only useful to derive the gist of meaning from an article or posting, but if you want to derive the accurate meaning of a given text, you would need a human being to be part of it
Here is where Computed-Assisted Translation comes in. In essence, it is human translation that is enhanced by computerized tools.
Many of the said tools are already present all word processors and web browsers, who have built-in spell-checkers or automatic correctors. But the more complex translation tools include memory tools, which are databases of texts in multiple languages, terminology managers that ensure consistency throughout the entire text, terminology databases purposely built for specific domains and many more
Hope the above clarifies the difference between Machine Translation and Computer-Assisted Translation
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