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Hybrid translation

Workflow with both human translations and pure machine translations

In a hybrid translation workflow, some raw machine translations are never seen or touched by a human translator.

Hybrid translation can be faster and cheaper than full human post-editing.

Hybrid translation requires good machine translation. A signification portion of the machine translated segments should be usable as-is.

Workflow diagram

The hybrid translation workflow was first presented by Microsoft, VMWare and Unbabel.

Slide from a ModelFront presentation

A risk threshold is set. Each new machine translation is automatically classified as high-risk or low-risk.

A low-risk machine translation is machine-approved as-is.

A high-risk translation is still sent to a human translator for post-editing.

In the translation management system (TMS) and computer-aided translation (CAT) tool, the machine-approved machine translations are handled like translation memory matches. They are either locked or marked as approved.


The key technology for a hybrid translation workflow is translation risk prediction, which is known as quality estimation in the research world.


The first companies to adopt the hybrid translation workflow built quality estimation internally.

  • Microsoft
  • VMWare
  • Wayfair

See also


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