There are more machine translation platforms than ever available for online users, and sometimes you just need to run something into a machine translation platform to get a feel for what kind of text and translator you might need, or simply just to identify the language.
But which is the right one for you or your business? We’re here to review 4 machine translation platforms to help you make that choice.
Google Translate: Probably the most well-known and widely used machine translation platform out there, it’s completely free and supports more than 100 languages. Their auto-detection feature is particularly useful, as it automatically translates any text or webpage to your preferred language, even if you don’t know what the source language is.
You can even download language packs onto your device to prevent draining your mobile data when you are out and about or when you’re not connected to Wi-Fi, making it ideal for travel purposes.
DeepL: Naming themselves “The world’s most accurate translator”, they have become a serious competition for Google Translate in recent years after having built a good reputation among professional translators for their accurate translations. Although they currently only offer 26 languages for translation, their focus is on quality over quantity.
The foundation of their platform is built on Linguee, an online multilingual dictionary operated by the same company. DeepL is trained on Linguee’s data, meaning you are less likely to get a word-for-word translation. Instead, it captures the nuances of the language to provide a higher quality translation.
Apart from their free version, DeepL offers a paid version called “DeepL Pro” which offers subscribers a CAT tool integration as well as end-to-end encryption of their translated data. This is ideal for those who are looking for a quick translated version of confidential documents but are worried about data security issues.
Reverso: Apart from the usual typing, this tool also allows users to speak out their words needed to be translated, making it convenient for those who are on the go. Other than translations, you can also expand your vocabulary using Flashcards.
Their built-in dictionary function includes specialized finance, business, technical, and medical terms, which is particularly useful for the translation of technical texts. Conjugations, idioms, and reverse translations are also included. Their spell checker ensures that translated texts are free from any grammatical and punctuation errors, so that users are able to generate an accurate translation efficiently.
Microsoft Bing Translator: The tool is a part of Microsoft Cognitive Services integrated into Bing, Microsoft Office and Skype etc. It is also available as a mobile app for Apple and Android devices. Their built-in auto-detection allows users to translate uploaded documents and web pages. You can also vote translations up or down depending on the accuracy. This feature is particularly useful as native speakers of the language will be able to verify whether or not these machine translated versions read fluently, and in turn, help out foreign language speakers.
A unique feature in the free version of Microsoft Bing Translator is the translation of common everyday phrases. With just one click, users can select the most widely used questions and statements needed for a conversation, as well as translate (via the app) street signs and unfamiliar text via OCR features. This is ideal for tourists who need simple phrases to get by in a foreign country.
Though it is important to remember that however convenient public machine translation platforms are, they should be used with caution and never be used as an alternative to professional translation services if high quality content is important to you.
Of course, they can come in handy when you need a gist translation quickly, as it makes no sense to turn to professional translation services if all you need is the general meaning of a text.