Machine Translation, Translation

A Gentle Introduction to Neural Machine Translation

A Gentle Introduction to Neural Machine Translation

As more companies launch their products across the globe, the need for high-quality translation services continues to grow exponentially. To meet the evolving and expanding demand for translations, neural machine translation (NMT) has increased in popularity, particularly because of its ability to meet project requirements at a reasonable cost. With its capability to translate based on context, NMT is able to produce top-notch content that is similar to the output of a human translator.

What is Neural Machine Translation?

NMT is a method of machine translation that utilizes an artificial neural network to calculate the probability of a series of words, usually modeling full sentences into one integrated unit. During NMT, the neural network encodes and decodes the source text instead of following a predefined set of rules that was put together before the translation began. As a result, NMT can successfully produce contextually accurate translations, while avoiding the issue of translating fragments just one word at a time. Ultimately, NMT is capable of avoiding the problems that accompany standard phrase-based translation systems, resulting in significantly more accurate translations.

How Does NMT Work?

NMT is intended to simulate the neurons of a human brain; as such, the machine’s neurons can collect and learn, make connections across data, and assess input as a complete unit. During the encoding process, the source language’s text is assembled into the machine, then it is arranged into language vectors. Words and phrases that are contextually similar will be added to comparable vectors. Once that phase is complete, the next step is the decoding phase, during which the vectors are translated into the target language. Because the technology is able to relate words and understand how their meanings are similar, it is translating complete sentences, not simply words.

NMT’s Benefits Have Helped it Gain Importance 

NMT is known for having many benefits that have fueled its growth through the years. These benefits include its ability to:

  • Achieve high accuracy. One of the greatest aspects of NMT is that, by understanding the overall context of words and phrases, it can generate translated content that is fluent and accurate.
  • Save money. Translations conducted solely by humans can become costly, particularly with large projects that involve several languages. Because of its efficiency, NMT programs can produce translations for a lower cost. Additionally, businesses can opt to use NMT for the translation, then bring in human translators for machine translation post-editing; this option adds in the human element while still saving some money on the work.
  • Increase scalability. When working on a translation project, sometimes the scope and the workload end up larger than anticipated. With NMT, translations can be quickly scaled to meet the demand.
  • Easily translate reproduced content. There are many translation projects that are repetitive in nature, such as user guides, manuals, and other reference materials. Oftentimes, such content needs to be reproduced in different languages or be available to add to related products. NMT technology can collect a substantial amount of data and use it as a basis for future projects.
  • Efficiently translate large amounts of content. During the NMT process, the program can retrieve vast amounts of data quickly, then produce a top-notch translated product. This aspect is especially useful when immediate messaging about a particular topic is necessary.
  • Assist with online customer service operations. When customer service representatives need to promptly translate customers’ requests, NMT can be quite helpful. Additionally, organizations can increase their customer service capacity while effectively communicating with customers in their languages by utilizing NMT technology.

Outsourcing Work to Language Services Providers That Use NMT

When deciding to outsource a translation project, the next step is to select a language services provider (LSP) that has an advanced NMT system in place. When considering translation services companies for NMT, consider these aspects:

  • Make sure that the LSP can provide clear pricing so that there are no unexpected or hidden costs involved with the neural machine translation.
  • Request a demo of the NMT program to make certain that the output will suit the needs of the project.
  • Find out if the LSP offers machine translation post-editing in case the decision is made to use the service.
  • Inquire about the company’s data security system to ensure that the data will remain confidential.

As neural machine translation technology continues to advance, more businesses will benefit from using it to meet their translation needs. Because neural networks will become even more sophisticated, reap their full advantages by working with a translation company that is staying on the forefront of the technology.


As more companies launch their products across the globe, the need for high-quality translation services continues to grow exponentially. To meet the evolving and expanding demand for translations, neural machine translation (NMT) has increased in popularity.

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