Are Human Translators Going to Become Obsolete?
Date: 21st of April, 2022
Author: Gabriel Sturges
Will humans eventually be replaced by machines? What was once relegated to the realms of science fiction is now something quite real. The future is now, as they say. In our daily lives, artificial intelligence is now able to perform increasingly complex tasks, from answering the phone to performing medical interventions. According to some, computers will one day be able to do all and every task that a human can do, but is that just an exaggeration? And within the world of translation, will human translators ever be replaced by a computer?
How computers and translators interact
Firstly, it's important to understand that automatic computer translation already exists and that we human translators readily use it, such as Google Translate. Machine translation works based on machine learning, where the computer examines multiple translated texts and makes educated decisions on how to translate a future text based on the previously examined ones. So-called CAT (Computer Assisted Translation) tools allow translators to create a glossary of text that they have previously translated, and in cases of highly repetitive documents, to automatically translate segments that have already been translated by a human. This helps to increase consistency and reduce time since the translator doesn't have to do these sections by hand.
So, if machine translation already exists and is used, will it replace a human translator? The answer is: perhaps, but not anytime soon. As good as computers are, they still have many limitations and need to be overseen by a human. A machine translation can provide a general overview of the original document, but automatic translation is still not good enough to capture humor, innuendo, or even interpreting something said incorrectly in the original document. In situations where the stakes are high, a machine translation could be used -- if the technology gets good enough -- but will still need to be confirmed and approved by a human professional.
There is no reason to fully reject one or the other --either 100% machine translation or 100% human translation is not the right answer. By harnessing the power of machine translation, translators can produce better texts, faster and with less work. Let us help you grow your potential through translation by requesting a free quote here.
Translation, machine translation, CAT tool, automatic translation, Google translate.