- October 28, 2018
- Posted by: admin
- Category: blog
The rapid advances in technology and its capacity to perform tasks typically carried out by people naturally leads to the concern that machines will take the place of us human beings. This concern is often expressed in the field of translation: will machines eventually make human translators redundant? Some would say that we’re entering a time where human translators are being displaced by machine translation. Others, who take a more reasoned and realistic view rooted in close contact with machine translation, would say that human translators are far from becoming obsolete.
Current Status of Translation
At the moment, MT software is considered to be in its infancy. Anyone who has read and worked with the output and results of machine translation will know that the quality can be poor and often a great deal of editing and rewriting is necessary for the text to reach an acceptable standard. There are frequently grammatical errors, inappropriate word choice and vocabulary and nuances of language are not adequately detected. At times, it seems as though it would have been easier and more efficient to have a text translated by a human to begin with. In light of this, the scenario that translators are going to become merely proof-readers any time soon is unlikely. However, perhaps the rate at which technology (hardware and software) is advancing means we may be faced with a situation where things do change. We can’t deny the fact that neural networks and AI are already here. Massive bodies of knowledge from dictionaries, glossaries and translation memories are used in MT and feasibly accuracy could improve as the repository of knowledge does.
Translation Companies Are Still Safe
But MT will need to go beyond word-for-word translation with some cleaning up according to a set of rules. It will somehow need to capture language as it is lived and experienced by actual human beings in a particular culture, in specific social contexts and so on. We might say a computer can translate, but not truly understand language, connotations and finer nuances. Translation without understanding is far from ideal. So, if anything, the immediate future of human translators working with MT is providing that perspective of lived experience to offer natural sounding texts that make sense.