DeepL vs Google Translate: A Comprehensive Showdown

DeepL Translator boasts of being “three times more accurate” than competitors. But how true is this claim? Is DeepL actually better than Google Translate, a pioneer in machine translation technology?

Today, we will compare these heavyweights of the machine translation industry. We will look into their strengths and weaknesses in a head-to-head showdown. So, let’s delve into the question: is DeepL truly better than Google Translate?

DeepL or Google Translate: Six Crucial Aspects to Look Into  

Comparing DeepL vs Google Translate can be challenging due to their unique features. To simplify our comparison, we categorized it into six key aspects:

  • Accuracy and Quality of Translations

  • Language Support and Limitations

  • Google and DeepL Pricing Models

  • API Integration and Technical Requirements

  • User Interface and Experience

  • Performance Across Various Industries

We’ll assess these critical areas to identify which machine translation engine outperforms the other. 

1. Accuracy and Quality of Translations

These aspects are crucial as both platforms employ advanced machine-learning techniques but differ significantly in their approaches and results.

Comparing DeepL vs Google Translate can be tricky, as it depends largely on the language pair and the context of the text. In our experience, DeepL tends to be more accurate, particularly for European language pairs, which is why we prefer it for such projects.

In a blind test conducted by DeepL, wherein professional translators evaluated the machine-translated content from DeepL and its competitors. Most translators scored DeepL’s translated content higher compared to others, like Google.

Language Pair Test by DeepL

Language Pair Test by DeepL

However, the graph above only shows European languages. If it were other language pairs like English to Korean, it might have gotten completely different results.

DeepLs' algorithm is designed to understand not just the words but also the intent and tone behind them. Making its translations more natural and accurate.

For projects dealing with Asian language pairs, we often use Google Translate due to its extensive data and resources. However, this wide range can sometimes lead to compromises in the accuracy of its content.

Although Google Translate is highly effective for straightforward translations, it struggles with intricate linguistic nuances and specialized terminology.

2. Language Support and Limitations

In terms of language support, Google Translate stands out due to its extensive language support, covering about 133 languages. It includes low-resource languages or those less commonly spoken.

Its strength lies in its accessibility and ability to provide a basic understanding of various language pairs. However, its strength is also a limitation.

While Google Translate is adept at providing general translations, its performance can be inconsistent when dealing with complex sentences, idiomatic expressions, and specialized terminology.

DeepL only supports 31 languages. However, despite having fewer language options, its AI algorithm helps it to understand and translate context. Making its translated content for the languages it supports more natural and accurate.

So if you’re looking for a machine translation engine with diverse language support, Google Translate is your best bet.

However, to better understand the level of quality for each language pair in DeepL vs Google, we interviewed our native Spanish and French translators.

We chose Spanish and French because they are high-resource languages. The MT engines have broader access to data for these languages than others.

DeepL vs Google Translate: English to Spanish Translations

According to our Spanish translators, Google Translate had several lexical mistakes compared to DeepL. Even though the grammar was correct, it could improve more in terms of fluency.

And while DeepL was better compared to Google Translate, it still needed improvements. As one professional translator pointed out, some parts were missing in the translated content.

They also noticed that DeepL didn’t follow the original format of the source text compared to Google Translate. This can be confusing for those keeping close track of the changes between the source text and machine-translated content.

DeepL vs Google Translate: English to French Translations

As for our French translators, Google Translate’s word-for-word translation made the translated content inaccurate. This has led to a distorted version of the original meaning even though it's grammatically correct.

Like with Spanish, DeepL had better fluency and was more accurate compared to Google Translate. However, it still had moments where it failed to grasp subtle nuances from the text that altered the meaning of the message. 

3. Google and DeepL Pricing Models

Google Translate offers a free and paid version. Its free version is accessible to anyone with internet access. Making it quite popular for casual users and small businesses.

However, Google Translate’s price model is unique in that it charges you after your first 500,000 characters in one month. If you’re translating over 500,000 characters up to a million, you’ll be paying $20 per million characters. 

Google Translate's Pricing Model

Google Translate's Pricing Model

But if you want to customize your Google Translate engine, you will pay $40 per month for below 500,000 characters. If you’re translating 500,001 to 250 million characters per month, you will pay $80 per million characters. And if you’re translating 250 million to 2.5 billion characters per month, will have to pay $60 per million characters.

Customized Google Pricing Model

Customized Pricing Model of Google Translate

Meanwhile, DeepL pricing follows a subscription-based service. Even though they offer a free version, it’s limited to a number of characters per translation. It also restricts the number of translations you can make per day.

DeepL's Pricing Model

DeepL's Pricing Model

However, at $8.74 per month, a Starter DeepL Pro subscription offers free data security and encryption features. This is great for businesses or organizations handling highly confidential documents.

Starter DeepL Pro allows you to edit 5 translated files per month while increasing your 1 glossary to 5,000 entries. From here, the number of editable files, glossaries, entries, and the size of uploaded files increases per month, depending on your subscription plan.

4. API Integration and Technical Requirements

Google Translate's API is widely recognized for its robustness and versatility. It provides a seamless integration experience for developers, especially those already using other Google Cloud products.

This API supports a broad range of languages and offers functionalities like language detection, text translation, and the ability to handle large volumes of text. Its integration is straightforward, benefiting from extensive documentation and community support.

Besides being praised for its high-quality translations,  DeepL’s API is designed to be simple and efficient. This allows it to integrate into existing systems easily.

It offers advanced features like customizable tone and style of translations, which can be particularly useful for businesses needing tailored translation solutions. The technical requirements for DeepL’s API integration are straightforward, with clear documentation provided. 

5. User Interface and Experience

Google Translate offers a user interface that is widely recognized for its simplicity and accessibility. Its straightforward design allows users to input text easily, choose languages, and receive translations almost instantaneously.

The platform is integrated across various Google services, enhancing its accessibility, especially to Google’s regular users. Additionally, it offers features like voice input, document translation, and a mobile app, making it highly versatile for on-the-go translations.

However, Google Translate’s simplicity sometimes means fewer customization options for more advanced translation tasks.

In contrast, DeepL presents a slightly more sophisticated interface without compromising ease of use. The interface is clean and intuitive, allowing for quick text input and language selection.

DeepL’s desktop app further enhances the user experience by providing shortcut keys and more direct integration with the user’s workflow.

However, DeepL’s advanced features might require a slight learning curve for new users, especially those unfamiliar with the translation software.

Regarding customization, DeepL provides options like choosing formal or informal tones in certain languages. This is particularly valuable for professional translations, as the tone is essential. 

6. Performance Across Various Industries

In the dynamic landscape of machine translation, the performance of a tool, like DeepL or Google Translate, can vary significantly across different industries. Each sector has unique requirements and challenges, making the choice of the right translation engine crucial.

Here, we examine how these platforms perform in various industries listed below:

Legal Industry: DeepL is often preferred in legal contexts for its superior handling of complex and nuanced language. This is crucial in legal documentation. Its accuracy in translating specific terminology and maintaining the context of legal language gives it an edge. Google Translate, while efficient, may not always capture the intricate legal jargon with the same precision.

Medical Industry: Accuracy is paramount in medical translations, where a slight error can have significant consequences. DeepL's nuanced understanding and contextual translation abilities make it more reliable for medical documents. However, Google Translate's extensive language coverage can be beneficial for quick, informal translations or in regions where less common languages are spoken.

Technology and Engineering: In tech and engineering, where specific terminologies are frequent, DeepL's detailed and context-aware translations are advantageous. It tends to provide more accurate translations of technical documents. However, Google Translate is helpful for quick translations of general tech content, especially in less widely spoken languages.

Tourism and Hospitality: Google Translate is a preferred choice in the tourism and hospitality industry. Its quick translation, wide language support, and features like real-time conversation translation and image translation are invaluable tools for travelers and service providers.

Education: Both platforms are helpful in educational settings. DeepL's nuanced translations are beneficial for academic research and studying literature. Meanwhile, Google Translate's accessibility and support for a vast array of languages make it a handy tool for general learning and language education.

E-commerce and Business: For global e-commerce platforms and businesses, Google Translate’s ability to handle a vast array of languages and its integration capabilities make it more suitable. DeepL's precise translations are beneficial for businesses requiring high-quality content, like product descriptions in specific markets.

DeepL or Google Translate: Comparing Rare Language Translations

When evaluating the performance of DeepL vs Google Translate in translating less commonly spoken languages like Indonesian, Korean, and Turkish, are not often discussed. This is unfortunate because various factors come into play when handling low-resource languages, including accuracy, contextual understanding, and cultural nuances.

Google Translate has long been the go-to tool for a wide range of languages, including rarer ones. As mentioned, its strength lies in its extensive database and the sheer volume of languages it supports.

In the case of languages like Indonesian, Korean, and Turkish, Google Translate generally provides satisfactory results for basic translations.

Users often appreciate its ability to quickly provide a gist of the text, making it a valuable tool for everyday use or for those traveling that need quick translations on the go.

However, a common complaint is that it occasionally lacks precision. It struggles with complex sentences or idiomatic expressions. In some instances, translations can appear too literal, missing cultural nuances that make the translations awkward.

As for DeepL, it is praised for its sophisticated AI algorithms that offer high-quality translations, particularly in terms of accuracy and maintaining context.

However, its primary limitation is handling rare languages like Indonesian, Korean, and Turkish. This is because of the limited number of languages it supports.

Where DeepL does support these languages, users often find its translations to be more natural and contextually accurate. It is particularly commended for its ability to handle nuanced and complex sentence structures.

Nonetheless, the platform can face challenges with idiomatic phrases and cultural nuances, similar to Google Translate, though often to a lesser degree.

Conclusion: Is DeepL Better Than Google Translate?

Whether DeepL is better than Google Translate largely depends on specific needs, language pairs, and budget considerations.

DeepL excels in accuracy and contextual understanding, making it ideal for industries requiring precise translations, such as legal and medical fields.

Whereas, Google Translate's strength lies in its extensive language coverage and speed. Making it suitable for general use and industries like tourism and customer service.

Budget-wise, Google Translate offers more flexibility with its free services. Ultimately, your choice should align with your specific requirements: whether you prioritize linguistic precision or cost-effectiveness in a translation tool.