Translation: Present and Future
September 15, 2023
Artificial Intelligence (AI) will displace 300 million jobs, according to a report by an investment bank. Whether this prediction comes true remains to be seen, but there is no denying that the translation industry has taken the brunt.
How Machine Translation Takes Root
The industry has long been buzzing with the advent of the technology. Every player is adopting or at least exploring AI-powered machine translation (MT). While companies are adjusting their practices at different paces, one thing is certain: MT is taking root with its many advantages.
One of the key advantages is of course speed. Machines can translate large volumes of text in a matter of seconds. This allows faster turnaround time, especially valuable for time-sensitive industries such as listed companies, investment industry, and news agencies.
Another advantage is that machines can be programmed to adhere to specific style guides and terminology, generating a more standardized and cohesive translation output.
Evolving Role of Human Translators
A direct impact is that the basic task of human translators is shifting from drawing up the first draft to post-editing MT-generated text. This impact can be a positive one, as translators can now delegate simple, mundane contents to machines and focus on polishing the translated text in a way that appeals to the readers.
In addition, this highlights more than ever the importance of mastering what MT struggles with – contextual nuances and cultural references. Language can never be isolated from culture, history and other contexts. Insensitivity to these considerations can ruin a compelling tagline and even the entire marketing campaign.
To stay competitive in the industry, translators/editors should develop specialized knowledge and expertise in specific industries and subjects such as literature and advertising/marketing fields, which require deep understanding of cultural nuances, and are able to provide added value to MT.
Keep Up with the Times
That translation was an exclusive domain for the educated elite in the ancient past is in an intriguing contrast to today when MT is accessible virtually by everyone via tiny devices. Whatever your industry, market landscape is evolving rapidly. We adapt, and we thrive.