Despite considerable advances in machine translation (MT), adoption by professional translators still meets with resistance. Research on the human factors associated with MT (non-)adoption is required to understand this state of affairs. We investigate whether two specific groups of professional translators use MT, what reasons they advance for its use/non-use and what factors might explain the reasons given. Participants advanced an equally diverse set of reasons for using MT as for not using it and this was strongly linked to text type, language pair, quality and trust. Using an agency theory lens, we found evidence of Pickering’s dialectics of resistance and accommodation in the focus group data. We also found that one group of translators is more open to the use of MT and suggest that the socio-technical context of deployment might explain this finding.