The question of cost is similar to that of speed. Software tends to be inexpensive or even free to use, while human translators have higher costs. This is in large part due to the difference in process. For software, there is little difference between one sentence or ten pages. Both can be scanned and translated quickly. For a human, the longer the content, the more complex and time-consuming the translation job becomes. This will lead into a subsequent point about complexity of content, but in terms of cost alone, software is a cheaper solution. There is a variety of cost levels among humans depending on quality and experience, but none of them will do the work for free.
Format is one of the areas where humans retain an advantage. For written content, it is simple for software to process and translate any amount of text. However, translating audio is much more challenging for a machine. A good human translator can actually translate audio faster than written content. This applies in several contexts. The most obvious one is conversation. Whether it’s talking on the phone to an international supplier or making contact with a new contact who doesn’t share a language, humans can facilitate clear, high-quality communication where software falls short. This is important in business because high-level communication between executives and managers involves a lot of speaking- those conversations can’t all happen over email. Aside from direct conversation, humans are also adept at handling translated transcriptions of audio or video recordings. A task like copying down the dialogue of a training video and translating it into another language for subtitling is still more human-friendly than software-friendly. It’s something that software is gradually improving on, but it’s just easier for people to accurately hear and record spoken language than it is for a computer. So any translation that needs to be done “live” or requires transcription is much better suited to human translators.