Machine translation – will it ever replace humans?

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Is machine translation a threat to translators? This question is asked by more and more people, for example those who regularly use Google Translate.

Machine translation

Technology has made tremendous progress recently. Interpreters can testify to this. Also, those who regularly use tools such as Google Translate notice that translations are getting better and more accurate. We are now offering not only a machine translation of the text, but also speech.

Intelligence of computer translators

Translators use Deep Learning algorithms that allow them to learn a language and analyze it in a more accurate way based on the huge amounts of data that users enter into it. Therefore, the more often we use the software, the better results we can expect. This explains why translations in the most-used language pairs are the most accurate.

Man will always win

Although artificial intelligence in many aspects can exceed our mental abilities, it will never guarantee that machine translation will be as good as it was created by man. Each text is a very complicated creation, much more than we think. It’s not just words and grammar. It’s also the context, the right interpretation. What about errors, will an online translator be able to recognize, interpret and correct them? What about dialects, slang, neologisms, dialects?

Technology – translator’s lifebuoy

Modern translators benefit from technology gains without interruption. Online dictionaries are used more and more often, while paper is covered with dust on the shelf. The Internet is the most powerful source of information and almost always allows the translator to find the answer to every question. For some written translations, the so-called CAT (computer-assisted translation) tools that allow you to partially automate the translation process and gather extensive translation databases and glossaries.

Help or threat?

Machine translation is a double-edged weapon. If we rely on it too much, it will lead to a significant deterioration in the quality of translation in very many cases. People have certain abilities that machines are unlikely to ever have, and they are often crucial in the translation process.

Sometimes, however, throwing foreign-looking text in Google Translate is enough for us, and employing an interpreter would not be a good idea. It’s good that we have such tools at our disposal. We just need to be aware of their limitations and know when to use them.

translator, language trainer