Consumers can differentiate between human and machine translation

WASHINGTON DC, May 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/

More than 80% of consumers can tell the difference between a professional, human translation and translations offered by automated translation tools. This, according to a survey conducted by OHT-Enterprise, a One Hour Translation (the world’s largest online translation agency) company.

The survey, conducted in May 2015, was jointly carried out with Google Consumer Surveys based on a representative sample of 800 respondents – 100 each from the US, the UK, Australia, French speaking Canada, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and Japan.

Across all countries 80.3% of all respondents answered that they could tell the difference between human translation and machine translation, 24.8% «definitely» and 55.4% «most likely». Only 3.4% responded that they could «absolutely not» distinguish between the two.

Most likely to be able to tell the difference were respondents from the Netherlands (88%), Australia (85%) and Japan (84%). In the Netherlands 42% of all respondents answered they «definitely» could tell the difference between the types of translation.

The full results in response to the question «do you think you can tell the difference between human translation and machine translation?» are as follows:

USA (Definitely 16%, Most Likely 59%, Not Likely 21%, Absolutely Not 4%)
Canada (Definitely 32%, Most Likely 53%, Not Likely 11%, Absolutely Not 14%)
UK (Definitely 19%, Most Likely 57%, Not Likely 18%, Absolutely Not 6%)
Australia (Definitely 20%, Most Likely 65%, Not Likely 14%, Absolutely Not 1%)
Germany (Definitely 21%, Most Likely 51%, Not Likely 24%, Absolutely Not 5%)
Italy (Definitely 27%, Most Likely 51%, Not Likely 18%, Absolutely Not 4%)
Netherlands (Definitely 42%, Most Likely 46%, Not Likely 10%, Absolutely Not 2%)
Japan (Definitely 22%, Most Likely 62%, Not Likely 15%, Absolutely Not 1%)

With the growing globalization of business and commerce, and the increased demand for immediate and cost-effective translations, many businesses are looking for new solutions to localize their services and communicate with customers, officials, employees and partners. Couple that with the fact that consumers have proven time and again that they are far more likely to buy when a website or e-commerce platform is tailor translated into their native tongue, and the need is unmistakable. But businesses must take note of the fact that automated translated are easily recognisable by potential clients and partners.

«This survey highlights just how easily recognisable automated translations are to consumers» said Ofer Shoshan, CEO of One Hour Translation. «While potential clients will no doubt give credit to companies that localize their websites and materials into the native tongue of their potential consumers, poorly executed automated translations are likely to reduce the level of trust in the offering. Professional human translations offer a level of nuance and cultural understanding that no machine can match».

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