AI Translation & Localization: Is It Worth It? Are Humans Better?

AI Translation & Localization: Is It Worth It? Are Humans Better?

Currently, the noise in the technological industry is towards automation, renewability, and artificial intelligence. Moreover, AI is also a part of automation and renewability. Hence, it is the most important current technology, with the highest potential to change mankind, from self-driving cars to pesky assignments. They say that AI technology has the potential to do it all. 

Some claim that it can already do it all. But is that really so? Or does AI need to up its game? Today, we will talk about AI specific to the localization and translation industry. Is it worth it to rely on AI technology or are you better off hiring a professional localization services provider?

What is AI Translation and Localization?

AI translation and localization refers to the process of using artificial intelligence technology such as machine learning or natural language processing to automate language translation and cultural adaption of various forms of content. Translation refers to changing the language from one form to another. Localization refers to changing cultural aspects and UI-related things such as logos, currency symbols, date formats, images, colors, etc. Airbnb is a prime example of a Professional Website localization Service done right. 

The Problem with AI Localization

Currently, machine learning, deep learning, and natural language processing (NLP) are the technologies that enable computer systems to churn out translations. Localization highly relies on natural language processing and that requires large amounts of data and time. The problem with this approach is that it may take AI a very long to properly understand the cultural nuances of different languages. Thus, the chances of making an error increase. 

AI Vs Humans: Pros, Cons, & Solution

AI Translation & Localization (Pros)

AI has the capability of translating large amounts of data in record time. Thus saving cost, time, and human labor. Moreover, such tools are cheaper to use than to hire human beings, and often they are free. Basic AI translation models are readily available for public use. Take Google Translate as an example. Furthermore, AI translation models are in a constant state of improvement.

AI Translation & Localization (Cons)

Though AI translation tools are great because of easy access and affordability. However, AI translation tools are prone to making mistakes. AI does struggle with cultural references, jokes, complex terminologies, and certain industries. AI also cannot distinguish certain human cues like sarcasm or context, ultimately altering the meaning of what was said in the source language. You may also notice that AI has limited creativity, often giving out similar translations.

Human Translation & Localization (Pros)

Human-based translations, especially through professional localization services providers can give accurate translations. Humans understand humor, context, sarcasm, cultural relevance, and more at a personal level. Moreover, humans are more creative, they can, for instance, change language, tone, and style to suit different audiences’ preferences. Humans are also better at finding mistakes and can ensure better quality. For instance, when availing of website localization services, a team will include translators and editors. Each person will have different tasks assigned, and this will ensure accuracy and quality.

Human Translation & Localization (Cons)

However, it is not all rainbows and cotton candy when it comes to human translations. The first downside is that human translation services are expensive when compared to AI. Moreover, the turnaround time is considerably longer through human translations, especially if you plan to translate large volumes of data. Lastly, it can be difficult to find translators for specific languages or industries. Due to the scarcity of certain language translators, the cost and turnaround time may increase accordingly.

What Approach is Best for Translation and Localization?

Well, it depends on what you are translating and what your intent is. If, for example, the content in question is factual and has a large volume. Even professional localization service providers utilize AI for large volumes of files and later edit it during the Q/A stages to ensure quality.

However, if the translation task is about creative content that requires complete accuracy and cultural relevance. Then human based translation is your best bet. For instance, we would always recommend a human translator for the medical, legal, and technical industries.

You can also consider the hybrid approach model. This is most often used by website localization service providers with large volumes of projects. In this scenario, AI quickly and cheaply translates large content files. In this scenario, AI quickly and cheaply translates large content files. After which linguistic experts review the content and edit out the mistakes. This helps people lower costs while ensuring the accuracy of the translations.


It is important to remember that AI is not here to replace humans and this is not at all the Terminator kind of situation. AI and humans are meant to collaborate to utilize each other’s strengths and mask each other’s weaknesses. In this case it will be the speed of AI and the accuracy of humans that will produce the best translation and localization results.

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