SYSTRAN Translate Test (+Pro and Desktop functions)

SYSTRAN-Translate pro review-test
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Founded in the 1960s, SYSTRAN is one of the oldest companies for machine translation solutions. Their solutions have been and are used by major companies worldwide such as Google, YAHOO! Babel Fish, the European Commission, and even NASA.

SYSTRAN has a very large portfolio of products and services, and in this following article, we will be focusing on the functions, application possibilities, and prices of SYSTRAN Translate PRO and the SYSTRAN desktop version.

SYSTRAN- An Overview

First things first, to use the SYSTRAN Translation Software you don’t need to have a large company! Just open your web browser to use the SYSTRAN free online translation, which offers more than 50 languages and 140 language combinations. 

You also have the option to upgrade to the cloud-based SYSTRAN Translate PRO version to translate websites, documents, and more. Or you can opt to buy the desktop version.

In addition to that, the SYSTRAN machine translation engine can also be integrated into many well-known CAT tools (Computer-Assisted Translation) such as SDL Trados Studio, Memsource, memoQ, and/or Across.

Are you not familiar with CAT Tools? Learn more in our article “What are CAT tools?”.

The technology behind the SYSTRAN translations

The company uses its translation engine PNMT™, which stands for Pure Neural Machine Translation.

In contrast to statistical and rule-based machine translation engines, neural machine translators, such as SYSTRAN, deliver a more accurate and fluent translation that has a natural ring to it.

What sets neural machine translation apart from other machine translators is that neural machine translation technology makes use of artificial intelligence and thanks to Deep Learning it is constantly improving through continuous learning.

Simply put, the architecture of artificial neural networks is inspired by learning like the human brain.  Read more about the technology behind SYSTRAN here.

Without a doubt, the results delivered by neural machine translators are impressive. However, improved translation quality doesn’t mean that human translators are from now on superfluous.

Yes, machine translation is used in certain contexts and for certain content, to speed up the translation process, but the results should always be edited by professional human translators. This process is called MT post-editing. During MT post-editing the text is checked for errors and adapted to human standards.

Apart from that, there are many areas where even neural machine translators come to their limits. Word plays, advertising slogans, or adapting a text to cultural customs, when it comes to localization or transcreation, the machine must accept its defeat and let the human experts take over.

Read more about these topics in our articles “What is transcreation?” and “What is localization?” However, an area where neural machine translators shine is the field of real-time translation. Because whenever large amounts of content need to be translated in close to real-time, it is almost impossible for humans to beat a machine translator.

SYSTRAN Online Translation

The SYSTRAN online translator is free and translates up to 2000 characters. In contrast to competitors, such as Google Translate or DeepL, SYSTRAN offers additional information that is displayed below the translation.

On the left side of the screen, users can find a dictionary. The dictionary displays the words used in the text above it. This way you can check for alternative words and their meaning. On the right-hand side, users can find different industry-specific translation models.

If you want to choose one of these translations, instead of the displayed one, you can click on the round arrow symbol on the right side of each translation model.

Some of the different models are:

Model: Generic L (by SYSTRAN)

Model: Finance (by SYSTRAN)

Model: Legal (by Crosslang)

Model: Medical (by Systran)

For test purposes, we translated different paragraphs from our EHLION website.  For one we used the „generic model and for the other, we used the „legal model“ as the paragraph we have chosen to translate is about specialized translations in the field of law and justice. Both results contained errors. This underlines once again that you cannot expect a perfect human-like translation from a machine translator.

What will immediately catch your eye is the translation of „Recht und Gesetz“  to „areas of law, law, and law“. Here is the translation of that sentence from our English website to give you an idea of how the translation should have looked like „EHLION offers professional language services in the field of law and justice to companies, administrative agencies, and public corporations“.

The „legal model“ didn’t really do a better job, but instead ended up translating  „insulted interpreters“ instead of “sworn interpreters”.

SYSTRAN 8 Translation for Desktop PCs

The SYSTRAN desktop version is a language translator, which addresses single users such as freelancers as well as businesses.

Apart from normal text translation, the software offers a SYSTRAN extension for web browsers and Microsoft Office as well as the SYSTRAN document translation. Additionally, you can also customize translations through user dictionaries or special SYSTRAN dictionaries.

Currently, there are two desktop versions available:

  • SYSTRAN 8 Translator Essential: price 89 USD.
  • SYSTRAN 8 Translator Professional: price 279 USD.
    This version includes the following functions, which are not included in the Essential version: MS-Outlook-Plug-in, translation of PDFs and image files, and the Quick File Translator. The latter can translate directly from Microsoft Windows Explorer by a right-click on your mouse.

Both versions include one language pair, and each additional language pair costs 55 USD.

English is available for many common language pairs such as English – French, English – Spanish, or English – German. The translation works both ways. For less common languages, however, such as Czech or Farsi the translation works only one way and is always translated to English.

SYSTRAN Translate Pro

SYSTRAN Translate PRO offers quite a similar range of functions as the desktop version. However, in contrast to the desktop version the Pro version is a cloud-based translation solution. So in contrast to the desktop version, it doesn’t need to be installed. You also cannot buy it, but instead subscribe to one of the 3 PRO plans: Starter, Standard, or Advanced. All are available either as a monthly or annual subscription. Those who commit for a year, get a 15% discount.

SYSTRAN pricing

StarterStandardAdvanced
Unlimited text translation Translation of documents and websitesIncludes all the services of Starter plan +   Translation of PDFsUser DictionaryIncludes all the services of Standard plan +   Translation MemoriesCAT/TMS tool conector
14.99 EUR per month/user29,99 EUR per month/user59,99 EUR per month/user

The number of characters that can be translated per month differs depending on the plan you have chosen.

Conclusion – the latest technology and many years of experience

Whether you need to translate emails or documents, without a doubt SYSTRAN Translate is a capable tool! Thanks to neural machine translation, it delivers more accurate results that sound more fluent. Due to the many options available you can choose exactly the product that is the best fit for your needs.

In addition to that, you can profit from using industry-specific translation models, which allows you to achieve better results for specialist areas such as medicine, law, or finance.

However, to our own surprise, SYSTRAN itself delivered the perfect example, why a qualified human translator should always edit machine translation results.

During our research, we had a look at the German version of the SYSTRAN Translate PRO website and found not only inconsistent use of terminology but also a wrong translation which really confuses the reader. They translated “translation memories” word for word to “Übersetzung Erinnerungen”, however in German you either use the word “Übersetzungsspeicher” or you also use “Translation Memory”, so the translation used on the website, however, makes no sense.

Do you want to avoid this from happening to you and instead want to stand out with high-quality translations?

Then you should place your next translation order with a professional language service provider such as EHLION. Whether you need a website translation, translation of manuals, or software localization we offer you a large portfolio of translation services.

When it comes to translations our goal is to deliver the best quality, this is why we are ISO 17100 certified and work with native speakers only, stationed all around the world.

Do you have more questions or want to place your next translation order? Our project managers are happy to help! Contact us.

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