Best Translation Software

Discover the differences and pros and cons of translation software versus human translation. Learn about several of the top translation programs.

The internet has provided many unique opportunities for both business and personal uses. One of the biggest strengths of the internet is breaking down distance barriers for a variety of subjects. Users have the opportunity to go online and access material from all around the world. While information is more readily available, it does not always mean the information is useable. In most cases, documents and websites from other parts of the world are written in their original language. Fortunately, there are a number of translation programs available to help you decode the information.

Translation services are not only useful in your personal life, but also for businesses. Many businesses rely on overseas business, either to sell products or purchase specialized products at lower rates. Even small businesses benefit from translation software to expand their markets. Translation software is often free or priced at a reasonable rate, but there are differences between translation software versus translation services.

Advantages of Translation Software

The two biggest advantages translation software has over translation services is price and speed. Translation services refers to any type of translation performed by another human. Translation software typically takes a few seconds to provide a translated copy of a document. Because the majority of translation software is free, you rarely have any fees. Even if you purchase professional translation software, the price is much lower than the hourly rates charged by translation services.

Another benefit of translation software is ease in converting to multiple languages. You can run a document multiple times through translation software, choosing a different language each time. This may not seem relevant for reading documents, but it is important if you are translating your own work into different languages. Translation software is constantly being updated and improving  as well, not only making translations more accurate, but making the software easier to use and more readily accessible.

Disadvantages of Translation Software

While there are many perks to translation software, there are also some notable disadvantages. The biggest difference between translation software and services is the quality of translation. One of the reasons why translation services takes significantly longer than software is the human translator is the human translator provides a higher level of accuracy. Human translators can also take words or phrases that do not traditionally translate well into another language and find the appropriate words in the new language to express the original idea. This is especially notable with certain writing styles, like metaphors or local sayings.

Context sensitive documents are also better translated through a human translator. For example, if you are drafting a business agreement with a foreign company, you need the wording to be precise for legal reasons. For this material, you want to use a human translator to ensure the material is clear in both languages.

Choosing Translation Services

Whether you choose translation software or services largely depends on what you need translated and why. If you are reading something for personal use, translation software is almost always the right answer because of the cost. If you are using a foreign document for research purposes, translation software is typically a good choice. The only time you would prioritize translation services is if the research requires specific language, such as a legal document or medical guidelines.

If you are translating your own work into another language, it is better to use a translation service. This is especially true if you are sending marketing materials overseas. If translation costs are an issue, consider asking the other company to handle the translation. This is more acceptable if it is an established business partner, but it can come off as dismissive during a new business deal.

Costs of Translation Software and Services

The majority of translation software is available for free. There are several specialized translation software with subscription services. This software usually comes with additional perks to justify the cost. The costs will vary depending on the software, but it is relatively inexpensive, typically costing between $10 to $20 each month.

In comparison, translation services are much more expensive. The cost changes depending on the language and the length of the document you need translated, but with common languages you can expect $.10 to $.25 cents per word, with more obscure languages costing closer to $.35 or $.45 each word. Factors like turn around time and complexity of the document can also alter the price. For larger translations, the service may charge a bulk flat rate instead, which ranges from several hundred to a few thousand dollars based on the length and turnaround time.


GlobalLink is one of the most sophisticated translator software, making it a popular choice for both large and small businesses. The software is based on a variety of smart applications. These applications are consistently updated to help the software grow, allowing it to handle context sensitive phrases with greater accuracy than traditional translating software. While it is not on the level of a human translator, it provides one of the closest translations you can expect from any program. You must request a custom quote directly through GlobalLink.

Google Translate

When it comes to free translation software, it is hard to find a more recognized program than Google Translate. Google Translate is one of the first free translation programs. While the program originally provided basic translations, Google has switched to a more adaptive algorithm to provide more accurate translations in a wide range of languages.


Pairaphrase has one of the largest language pools of any software, with over 60 supported languages as of writing. In addition to translating, the software allows you to easily share and transfer files across multiple users. Pairaphrase is built almost exclusively for large businesses, which is shown by the number of supported files. In addition to traditional word documents, the software also supports Excel, InDesign, Powerpoint and AutoCAD. Another useful feature is the ability to have translated text read aloud, with 18 languages available.

Pairaphrase is one of the pricier services because it charges based on the total number of words you can translate each year. The base plan supports up to 600,000 words each year, costing $3,399. The highest tier plan goes all the way to 72,000,000 but costs $20,000. You can also request a free demo from the company.