How does machine translation work?

What is machine translation?

Increase productivity and translate faster

The machine translation function built into Trados Studio enables you to: translate and deliver more content in less time.

Trados Studio supports a wide variety of machine translation engines.

What machine translation functions does RWS offer?

RWS brings the latest in neural machine translation with cutting-edge technology that delivers world-class results. Our machine translation was originally designed for companies dealing with high volume business processes, but is now integrated with Trados Studio.


In addition, Trados Studio users can download an app from the RWS AppStore, giving them access to more than 50 machine translation providers, including DeepL, Google Translate, Microsoft MT and Modern MT. Click here to get more information.

How does machine translation work?

There are three types of machine translation systems - rule-based, statistical, and neural systems:

  • Rules based systems rely on a combination of language algorithms and grammar as well as dictionaries for general vocabulary. Specialized dictionaries cover specific industries or areas. When configured with specialist dictionaries, rule-based systems usually deliver consistent translations with exact terminology.
  • In statistical systems there are no language algorithms. Instead, these systems “learn” to translate by analyzing large amounts of data for each language pair. They can be configured for specific industries or areas by adding the necessary data to them. As a rule, statistical systems provide smoother, but less consistent translations.
  • Neural Systems, also known as NMT (Neural Machine Translation), represent a new approach. In this case, the machine learns to translate via a large neural network (various processing devices that are modeled on the human brain). This approach is enjoying increasing popularity among developers and other experts in the MT area, because configured NMT systems meanwhile deliver better translation results for many language pairs than, for example, phrase-based statistical translations.

When is machine translation used?

When translating in Trados Studio, the segments not contained in the translation memory can be automatically machine translated. The translator checks, accepts and changes the segments if necessary or optionally translates them manually. He can configure himself which machine translation to use and how much of it is used.

Maintain confidentiality

If the projects you are working on contain sensitive information, the customer may request that no data be given to third parties. Consider carefully how and when to use machine translation, as source segments for this can be passed on to a third party.

Trados Studio automatically generates audit files that record the use of machine translation.

What are the advantages of machine translation?

Whether you are a freelance translator, language service provider or company, working with machine translation can increase your productivity and process larger volumes of content. Thanks to neural engines, machine translation results sound more natural and flow better. The quality is significantly higher, and this reduces the amount of work required for post-processing.

How do I turn on machine translation in Trados Studio?

To enable our NMT 2.0 (neural machine translation) in Trados Studio 2021 and 2019, do the following:

In the Translation Memories and Machine Translation dialog box, add the SDL Language Cloud translation source to your project. To do this, select "Use ..." and then select the "SDL Language Cloud" option from the drop-down list. In the SDL Language Cloud dialog box, select SDL Machine Translation. Select the translation model "Generic - NMT" for the desired language pairs.

If you are using Studio 2017 and want to integrate NMT 2.0 from SDL Machine Translation, you must first download the app for machine translation from the RWS AppStore.

Is machine translation free to use?

Trados Studio users have free access to RWS machine translation capabilities and can translate 500,000 characters per account each month.

If you need a larger package with a higher monthly volume of characters, you can take out a paid subscription. Contact your local contact to find out more about our flexible machine translation packages.

Blog: SDL Trados Studio now with NMT

SDL Machine Translation's neural machine translation (NMT) is now available in SDL Trados Studio. You can learn more about this on this Q&A blog.
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Webcast: Introduction to Neural Machine Translation (...

Find out how SDL Trados Studio users can translate even better with groundbreaking new neural machine translation (NMT) capabilities from SDL Machine Translation.
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