In today's world, the integration of AI into even toothbrushes has caused people to ponder about the future of their professions. For the past ten years, translators have been concerned about the possibility of being replaced by AI and robots. Although this hasn't happened yet, it cannot be ignored that AI has significantly impacted the daily operations of translators and translation offices.

According to a recent study, nearly 80% of translation companies rely on machine and AI translators and only require their human translators to edit the AI-generated translations. However, many translators refuse to do this kind of work, arguing that editing machine translations (or MTPEs) requires as much effort and time as regular translating. Therefore, they believe it's unfair to consider it as mere editing work and pay them less than they deserve.

Many translators believe that editing machine-translated post-edited texts (MTPEs) is more difficult than translating from scratch. This is because machine translations restrict the translator's creativity and attention. As a result, an edited version of an MTPE may not be as good as a translation done normally, without the use of machine assistance.

At the same time, there are also a lot of professional translators, who say that machine translations ease their work and allow them to do a lot more a lot more easily. Here, it must be stressed that they choose when and if they use AI translators.

From the perspective of a translation company, using machine translations can reduce their expenses. As the work given to a translator for "editing" can be accomplished with less effort, they can pay less. Additionally, machine translation is a useful marketing tool for attracting customers, as translations can be quite expensive. By investing in a machine translation program, a translation company can potentially lower their prices, leading to long-term benefits.

Some clients prefer to use machine translators, especially when a large amount of text needs to be translated. They assume that a machine translator can complete the task faster than a human. However, the effectiveness of machine translation depends on various factors, such as the type of text being translated, and its complexity.

As technology advances, customers demand faster turnaround, improved quality, and lower costs. However, achieving high-quality translations still requires the expertise of a professional translator.

Around the world, most translators are self-employed and can choose what they want to translate and not. Translation companies are finding it even harder and harder to find translators willing to work on MTPE. Those, who agree to do that, often ask for the same pay as if they were translating. A fraction simply choose to leave translating entirely, because they feel unappreciated.

Translation companies are in the middle between customers and translators, forced to find solutions that please both sides. Some choose to invest in technologies, develop their machine translators and specially train translators to use them. That, however, doesn’t solve the problem with the general resistance of translators against this trend.

We often talk about AI as a separate entity from humans, but in reality, it's just a tool or an instrument. No matter how advanced the tool is, it's useless in the hands of an unskilled person. Machine translators are one such tool, and it's essential to use them wisely. When translation companies make their human translators edit a machine translation, it's similar to asking professional builders to fix a DIY staircase. It's done to save costs, but it's not an ideal approach because the builders are not responsible for the staircase's initial construction.

In a sense, using AI tools and adapting to use them is expected from translation companies. It’s clear that technology isn’t going anywhere. But technologies have to serve to better the lives of humans, not vice-versa. And we mustn’t force the use of technologies. Using or not using machine translators should be left to the translator. A translation company should give their translators access to these tools, similar to how they already give them translation software. That, however, doesn’t allow them to lower costs, but ensures quality, which, supposedly, is more important than cutting costs.

In the end, one must keep in mind that free machine translators, like Google Translate or DeepL, pose security risks. More information on this topic can be found here.