Is Machine Translation a Lucrative Solution? Where Have All the Humans Gone?|
Machine translation vs human translation, the eternal divide… Is it really a question of which is best? Let’s dwell a little upon this dichotomy.
While machine learning translation apps like Google Translate have proven useful for fundamental cross-language interactions, they can be insufficient for conveying the complex meaning of health, legal and business materials. Scans, handwriting and acronyms are but a few of the fine aspects of translation that machines have yet to ‘learn’. Besides, no robot has yet been built to replace a sworn human translator in a legal setting. Joke aside, the difference between human translation and machine or AI-powered language services runs deeper than that.
Human vs. Machine Translation
Translation is not just a photocopy of the original, but a creative act. Each language has its complexity and its juices. No matter how the mechanical ways of connecting and translating one language into another evolve, the creator will always add a personal touch that gives a piece its individuality.
Advanced as it may be, translation software, AI or a translation engine is not endowed with the capacity to “think” like a human. Language is a living organism that evolves, mutates and grows as its speakers grow and evolve. Hence, the numerous shifts in syntax and usage over time.
In due course, machines will need to also “unlearn” standard syntax and usage to better meet the needs of specific audiences. Slang, memes, humour and emotional context are essential to our everyday interactions – and that’s something that no machine can convey (at least not yet).
Although machine translation (MT) systems have come a long way since 1949 when Warren Weaver, researcher at Rockefeller Foundation, introduced the concept, which culminated with the adoption of a syntax-based model in 2001, MT is still unable to keep up the pace with language shifts.
Translation engines are well-integrated and programmed to “think” or rather reproduce language according to a specific set of rules. Moreover, translation engines lack emotion and thus, are unable to render the emotional power and stylistic colour that sometimes context requires.
Garry Kasparov, the chess grandmaster, said that “Machines have calculations; humans have understanding. Machines have instructions; we have purpose. Machines have objectivity; we have passion. We will need intelligent machines to help us turn our grandest dreams into reality.”
Are you ready to turn your dreams into reality? Give us a call or request a quote online. Plus, we’re human. Our translators are all native speakers of 70+ languages and well-grounded industry experts with a keen eye for detail and a passion for local colour.
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