Last time, we covered the pros and cons of both human translation and machine translation, but what if there were a way to combine the strengths of human translation with those of machine translation?

That’s where post-editing comes in.

Post-Editing Brings Man and Machine Together

Post-editing emerges as a symbiotic process, harmonizing the efficiency of machine translation with the nuanced insights of human translators. In this approach, a human translator reviews and refines the output of machine-generated translations, addressing nuances, improving fluency, and ensuring cultural finesse. Post-editing stands as a bridge between the strengths of human and machine translation.


1. Optimal Speed and Quality Balance
Hybrid approaches strike a balance between the speed of machine translation and the quality of human translation. This allows businesses to meet tight deadlines without compromising on the accuracy and fluency of the final product.

2. Cost-Effectiveness
By combining the cost-effectiveness of machine translation with the precision of human translation, hybrid approaches offer a cost-effective solution for businesses. The initial investment in machine translation technology is offset by the added value provided by human translators in the refinement process.

3. Flexibility
Hybrid approaches provide flexibility in adapting to different content types and industries. They can be tailored to suit the specific needs of a project, allowing for a customized and scalable translation solution.

4. Continuous Improvement
By incorporating human feedback into the machine translation process, hybrid approaches contribute to the continuous improvement of machine translation systems.
This iterative feedback loop enhances the accuracy and contextual understanding of machine-generated translations over time.


1. Integration Complexity
Implementing a hybrid approach requires seamless integration between machine translation systems and human translators. Achieving this integration without disrupting workflow processes can be a complex task for businesses.

2. Quality Assurance
Ensuring consistent quality across hybrid translation projects requires robust quality assurance processes. Businesses need to establish clear guidelines for human translators working on machine-generated drafts to maintain a standardized level of quality.

3. Compromise of Priorities
As this is a hybrid approach, finding that right balance between the utilization and refinement of the machine translation output can be difficult. Prioritizing speed leads to drops in quality, and prioritizing quality leads to similar dips in speed. While some kind of compromise is always necessary when taking this approach, reaching an agreement among stakeholders is not always an easy proposition.

Realistic Use Cases: Navigating the Translation Landscape

When should you use human translation?

Best Suited For:
Public relations, advertising, literary works, conversations, and any content where cultural nuance and creativity are crucial.

Realistic Use Case:
Crafting a compelling marketing message that requires cultural adaptation and creative flair.

When should you use machine translation?

Best Suited For:
Technical manuals, straightforward instructions, large volumes of content with minimal need for creative adaptation.

Realistic Use Case:
Translating product manuals for a global audience where precision is essential, and creativity takes a back seat.

When should you use post-editing?

Best Suited For:
Technical manuals, extensive documentation, and content where a balance between speed and quality is paramount.

Realistic Use Case:
Translating a vast repository of legal documents using machine translation, with human post-editing to ensure legal accuracy and fluency.


In the dynamic landscape of translation services, the choice between human translation, machine translation, or a hybrid post-editing approach depends on various factors, including the nature of the content, budget constraints, and the desired level of accuracy. So, now that we’ve covered the three primary types of translation, lets cap things off by comparing and contrasting these three different translation methods to better help you understand which one might be right for you and for your projects.

Human Translation vs. Machine Translation:

  • Accuracy and Nuance: Human translation excels in accuracy, nuanced understanding, and cultural adaptation.
  • Speed and Scalability: Machine translation offers unparalleled speed and scalability, but may lack the finesse required for certain types of content.

Machine Translation vs. Post-Editing:

  • Efficiency and Cost: Machine translation is efficient and cost-effective, while post-editing combines efficiency with the quality refinement of human touch.
  • Contextual Understanding: Post-editing addresses the contextual limitations of machine translation, ensuring a more accurate and culturally sensitive final output.

Human Translation vs. Post-Editing:

  • Precision and Creativity: Human translation brings precision and creativity to the table.
  • Speed and Scalability: Post-editing enhances the speed of machine translation while maintaining human-quality precision.

While human translations bring a depth of understanding, cultural sensitivity, and creativity to the table, they may not always be the most efficient or cost-effective solution. On the other hand, AI-driven machine translation offers unparalleled speed and scalability, but may falter in capturing the nuanced intricacies of language and culture. Post-editing emerges as a bridge, harnessing the efficiency of machine translation while ensuring the quality refinement of human expertise.

Ultimately, the key lies in understanding the specific requirements of each translation endeavor and choosing the approach that aligns with the unique demands of the content at hand. As the translation landscape continues to evolve, the delicate dance between human and machine translation methods transforms the language barrier from an obstacle into a threshold to cross with finesse and precision.

Kawamura's translation services

Kawamura International offers translation services in fields such as IT, medical devices, legal, finance, and patent, supporting more than 40 languages.

We provide consulting on the effective use of machine translation with post-editing services along with human translation services to meet the various needs of our customers. Not only that we also handle a variety of language-related services, such as editing and localization services of video and audio data.

Get in touch with us if you need professional translation services or have any other questions about translation and localization services in general.