What is Back Translation?

What is back translation?

Back translation is used as a rigorous check of any translation that has already been translated. It is not common as the whole back translation process adds work, time, and cost to the translation project. Basically, the back translation procedure is relatively simple as it is a translation back to the original source language from the translated version. To be effective, it must be done by another translator altogether, i.e. not by the person who completed the forward translation.

The back-translation method

The back-translation method is no different from the forward translation method. The translator tasked with the back translation is given the translated version of an original chunk of text and deals with it as if it was any other translation, not having seen the original source material. This is important because one of the whole points of the back translation method is to see if there were any errors in meaning or context that were made in the first (forward) translation.

What is the purpose of back translation?

The back translation concept is an added refinement of proofreading. Generally, professionally translated material is edited and proofread, but some content is so important that the back translation process is an added safeguard. Once the back translation has been completed, it is carefully compared to the original source material. It is unlikely that it would be a 100% copy, but it is important to make sure that there are no glaring errors and the back translation is as close to the source versions as possible.

Are there are any disadvantages in back translation?

There are more advantages than disadvantages in back-translation. It is like having two or more different proofreaders go through a chunk of text. This is bound to result in a more accurately worded text. This is true for proofreading translated text as well. So why do most projects not involve back translation?

While back translation adds another level of safeguarding the accuracy of a translation it does take time and therefore it becomes a more expensive option than not bothering with it. Also, back translations must be completed by different translators who do not have any knowledge of what the original (forward) translator’s material was all about. This presupposes that back translation is typically only offered by larger translation agencies and not by individual freelance translators.

Where back translation is most suited

The back translation concept is most useful where accuracy is at a premium and errors or potential misunderstanding cannot be tolerated. Medical journals, instructions, and clinical trials and results are a good example of where the back translation is useful. Instruction manuals for potentially dangerous machinery or equipment could also benefit from back translation whenever these manuals need to be translated into multiple languages.

Business agreements and international treaties and trade agreements between different governments cannot afford to be misunderstood so these are also very good examples where it is important to employ back translation.

 

The Connection between Transcription and Translation

Transcription is a specialized task in which someone’s speech is written down as accurately as possible. The person who does the writing down is called the transcriber. The most difficult transcription is when the transcriber has to record what has been spoken directly at the same time that the person is actually speaking. There is no chance to hear the speech a second time, especially if the transcription is taking place in a public place where there may be many people listening. Some transcribers make a recording of the person’s speech, then do the transcription later in their own time. This is a lot easier, assuming that the recording is of reasonable quality, as the audio recording can be played over and over again until as much as possible of the person’s words can be transcribed.

There are also many occasions when the transcriber is also a translator and must listen to someone speaking in a language that is not their own language and will need to both transcribe and translate it. Note that the difference between immediate transcription and remote transcription as far as translators are concerned is the same. The translator who is also a transcriber would find listening to a recorded speech would find it easier to do the translation part of the task than having to listen carefully and simultaneously transcribe and translate at the same time. The transcriber may then opt to transcribe the person’s words directly into text using the speaker’s language then perform the translation part later by consulting what they have written down.

The transcriber/translator is somewhere between a pure translator and an interpreter. Translators normally work with text. This is in some ways easier than what interpreters have to do, but it would be expected that translators would normally achieve a higher degree of accuracy. Interpreters listen to someone speaking and then convert the speech into the desired second language. Interpreters’ end product then is audio, while translators’ is text. It’s not really possible for either transcribers or interpreters to produce a totally accurate version of the spoken word, so the aim is to be as accurate as possible rather than aim for total accuracy.

When are transcribers/translators needed?

There are very many uses for transcriber /translators and the demand for good quality transcription and translation services are constantly growing. Here are a few examples of where this service is needed:

As with many translations and interpreting services, there is a strong tendency for specialization in the transcription/ translation industry. This does mean that if you are on the lookout for a transcription/translation service it is important to use the service that specializes in your own field.

The effect of Covid-19 on demand for transcription

Because of social distancing rules in many, if not most countries, as well as the almost impossible ability to travel across borders, there has been a huge rise in virtual or online meetings and conferences of all types. This has inevitably meant that there is an associated huge growth in demand for good quality transcribers and translators to record what is said at these events. Transcriptions of meetings and conferences can then be translated into multiple languages and distributed by email to participants without the need for risking infection.

Translation Services Are Important in Global Pandemics

Because COVID-19 is a global pandemic, knowledge about it needs to be shared throughout the world. This knowledge must be translated accurately so that global citizens know where they stand. The knowledge that accumulates over time about COVID-19 may have some solutions that need to be conveyed to every corner of the earth so that people can act to prevent themselves from contracting the deadly virus.

Some key information that had to be spread around the world was related to the age groups most affected by the virus. This information was made available when the virus spread into northern Italy which was one of the first of the European countries to be seriously affected. It was soon realized that the virus was wreaking havoc throughout the elderly population, many of whom resided in an extended family home. This information had to be quickly translated and spread throughout the world. It wasn’t just a matter of simply protecting the elderly by telling them to stay at home, but also ensuring that anyone visiting elderly people had to cease their visits or use protective equipment to help stop the spread.

Italy had to spread the word that needed to be translated, warning the world to take action immediately; otherwise, it would be too late. No one government knew what to and because there was a shortage of face masks, their use was advertised as being doubtful. The only other options were implementing social distancing rules which kept people apart.

Once a pandemic was announced by WHO, the virus quickly took hold, and news reports sprouted up around the world. If these reports were mistranslated, then no-one may have understood the severity and spread of the pandemic.

Medical translations key in a pandemic

Medical authorities and healthcare professionals work together throughout the world, so they depend on the accuracy of medical translations which need to be completed by reliable human translators, not online translators that are rarely completely accurate. If the medical professional is unable to communicate well and effectively, progress in handling the pandemic comes to a grinding halt.

Researchers in the medical community is key to finding a vaccine, cure, and treatments so they need to share research findings with each other while nurses and doctors attempt to control COVID -19 and treat patients. When a translator does this sort of translation work s/he must have sufficient experience in the right field and be fluent in both the two languages.

It is not good enough for someone bilingual to complete these types of translations, but they need to be experts in the field too. The medical industry uses its own terminology so when translated into other languages it needs an accurate translation by someone who understands the field. It is not good enough to translate text using online translation tools as these sorts of translation programs only translate word to word. They cannot translate terms precisely as rarely is their just one word that translates easily into another language.

Use a professional human translator for a COVID-19 translation

To be certain that translations are completely accurate professional human translators need to be hired to do the pandemic work. During this COVID-19 global crisis, medical professionals are, without a doubt, unsung heroes who have put in hours and hours of their lives and taken risks to help humanity. But they are not the only ones who are helping the world right now as translators are quickly translating all the key information about the pandemic so that everyone is kept informed.

 

The Importance of a Transcription Service to Enable Multilingual Communication

A general definition of transcription is a written text created directly from an audio recording. It is created by a transcriber who listens either to a speaker giving a live speech or from a recorded audio file. Transcription has proved to be valuable because it provides the text of recordings that can be kept safe for later use.

Transcription and translation

Transcription is not a translation, but when a video or audio recording needs to bein a multilingual form then a translation of transcription can take place. The translator will listen to the audio file write it in text form, review it for accuracy, and then translate it. The audio content is now accessible to those who prefer to read the content but not listen to it in their own language. There are transcription services available that specialize in translating of video and audio files. A multilingual transcription service is often required in many situations throughout the business world.

A legal transcription service

Often an audio transcription service is used for a legal case that needs to be multilingual. These sorts of translations need to be done quickly so they can be viewed in court in the many languages that might be spoken by lawyers, plaintiffs, and defendants in a case. An audio transcription translation service may be used in the following situations:

  • audio evidence;
  • conversations at depositions;
  • hearings recorded in other languages;
  • law enforcers’ interviews;
  • meeting minutes; and
  • phone conversation recordings.

A medical transcription service

It is important that patients whatever the language they speak receive the best of care. There are two ways communication can take place if a common language does not exist between the patient and the physician. One is recording the patient’s conversation, then transcribing it and translating it. The second is accessing an interpreter. There is nothing worse than a patient misunderstanding a medicine dosage or a doctor misunderstanding a patient’s symptoms.

There are several situations when medical transcription translation services may be used:

  • instructions are given by medical practitioners for operations and medications;
  • audio recordings of a patient’s condition and treatment administered;
  • recorded patient statements;
  • interviews between medical practitioners and patients.

A business and marketing transcription service

Transcriptions of both video and audio files are a requirement for any business which wants to operate at home and abroad. For any business which serves multilingual clients, a transcription service for translation helps to improve record-keeping and makes information easier to understand.

The sorts of transcriptions and translations for businesses which take place include:

  • recorded telephone calls;
  • conferences, workshops, and seminars;
  • interviews;
  • AGM recordings.

An academic transcription service

Education is an international resource and findings from research or lectures given at universities on key topics should be transcribed and translated into the languages of those who wish to access the information.

Most transcription translation services provide multilingual communication for the following recordings:

  • Interviews;
  • workshops;
  • e-learning courses;
  • voice-recorded notes of research taken out in the field;
  • lectures & seminars;
  • focus groups.

Overall, transcription translation services provide experienced transcribers and translators to provide services to many different industries so that multilingual communication is made easier.

How a Tourism Translation Service Helps to Improve the Travel Experience

Introduction

Multilingual communication makes up one of the most important elements of both tourism and travel. To enable travelers to enjoy their overseas travel experiences a tourism translation provided by tourism translation services that help travelers understand their destinations is a necessary component of the tourism experience. Fortunately, over the years it is possible to get a professional tourism translation that accurately describes tourist activities so that the tourist can choose the activities that best suits their interests. A professional tourism translation is provided on menus in restaurants overseas so that a tourist may choose what suits his or her taste. This ensures there is no confusion for the tourists and they can get on with their holiday with fewer delays.

Professional tourism translation interactions

Translation services provide help in all sorts of areas of travel including:

  • translations of the content of air travel;
  • translations for personal safety;
  • translations for hotel help;
  • professional translations for a travel agency;
  • language interpreters for guided tours.

Translations of the content of airline travel

Translations of the content for airline travel provide travelers with the peace and quiet they need when they board an airline. Because there are so many travelers speaking so many different languages many airlines use the service of a professional translation company so that key information can be translated into many languages. Many languages are used when selling tickets, providing terms of service, guiding passengers within the airport terminal, and keeping travelers informed.

Even while the airplane is flying to a new destination, the crew may speak several languages but at least the languages of the departing and arrival airports. Airplane and safety instructions well as information about inflight entertainment, the airline’s inflight magazine, and the menu of the flight which is found in the front of aircraft seats are often translated into at least two languages.

Translations for personal safety

It is important that passengers know at least the safety routines on a flight otherwise they will not know what to do if an emergency arises. Also, once on the ground at the start of a well-earned vacation if tourist operators or local authorities provide translations of safety information such as when it is not safe to swim at a beach or if there are marine stingers, sharks, or snakes in the area this helps the traveler enjoy the holiday even more. Even phone numbers and notices explaining what to do in an emergency translated into different languages offer the peace of mind travelers often seek when away from home.

If somebody requires medical assistance, interpreters and translators can offer their services so that anyone who is sick or has been injured can access the help required without any delay.

Translations for hotel help

These translations make visitors feel happy and comfortable whether they are staying in a 5-star resort or a backpacker’s hostel. The hospitality industry offers tourists a secure place to enjoy their vacations in a language they understand. They provide maps, directions, descriptions of activities, and menus in the tourist’s preferred languages. When hotels, motels, and B&Bs translate visitors’ information it makes the travelers’ life much easier.

Professional translations for a travel agency

Professional translations for a travel agency help customers get to their destinations. When language barriers exist getting a professional translation service to translate travelers’ itineraries means they get there far more quickly and safely.

Language interpreters for guided tours

If a large group speaking the same language joins the same tour it enhances their experiences if there are interpreters accompanying the tours. The interpreter can explain the significance of an ancient building, monuments, and well-known landmarks in a language the tour group understands. Without the help of a professional interpreter, the tour group may miss out on interesting information.

Gaining the most from a trip with help from a tourism translation service

When a tourist provider offers tourist information in many languages, travelers may appreciate what they are seeing while discovering access to local spots that best fits their interests and needs. Translations into the travelers’ native languages, along with good customer service can make all the difference when deciding to participate in activities. You can more easily choose the most suitable activities which you are happy to do and choose a meal when you know the contents.

Translation companies can assist hotels, motels, and resorts to give their holidaymakers the perfect feeling that they are secure and content while enjoying the holiday feeling. Nothing gets lost in the translations when the tourist providers use the best translation services. There is nothing worse than losing out on a well-earned vacation when language barriers exist.

Translations for tourism make communication accurate and accessible and opens the traveler to new experiences which help to boost a country’s tourism business.

Common Situations When Families Need Translations

One of the commonest reasons for families requiring translations is when they migrate to another country. Most immigration authorities require that all key documents related to the family need to be provided with a translation if these documents are not in the same official language as the country to which the migrants are intending to live in. This includes translations of the following:

  • a birth certificate for each family member;
  • marriage certificate, when applicable;
  • a divorce certificate, if applicable;
  • any academic degrees’
  • college diplomas;
  • transcripts of course records;
  • medical examination reports and medical records for all the family;
  • overseas drivers’ licenses;
  • police checks for family members.

In Australia, as with most other countries, translations of all key family held documents will need to be accompanied by a signed and certified translation. Failure to do this can delay a migration application and if it involves starting a new job the main applicant may be rejected if the immigration process is far too slow. There is a lot at stake if you do not get the right translations for the documents required to get your new immigration status approved.

Translations for families arriving in Australia

No one is permitted to enter Australia without a visa, whether it is for visiting Australia on a tourist visa, for permanent residency, a bridging visa, a visa for employment purpose, or a working holiday visa. The Australian Government will only accept the English language for the documents that are required for entry into the country for both individuals and families.
All translations of documents required to get a visa must be performed by an approved professional translator who has NAATI accreditation. NAATI stands for the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters and it is responsible for ensuring that translators reach a high standard before being accredited.

The process used for translating visa application documents for families.

Because most documents required to support a visa application are legal documents it is always better to get a professional legal translator to perform the translations. This means a human translator, not an online tool that specifies it undertakes translations of legal documents. These sorts of translations are notorious at providing inaccurate translations of documents which if used will lead to delays in you and your family’s move to Australia.

Legal documents depend on accurate translations which are usually word for word translations. As Australian immigration officials require that every part of a legal document is translated including seals and watermarks it is important to get a legal translator to do the work as he or she will be familiar with the seals and watermarks found on your legal documents. The translator will then certify and sign the translation and state that it is an accurate translation.

Any translated document that you are required to provide for you and your family for visas to if it has not been certified by a professional legal translator your application will be rejected leading to long delays while you sort out your translation problems.

Other reasons why families may need translations

If you have just arrived in Australia and your family is not fully fluent in English, they may need translations related to education and health provision in Australia. Most of the states provide key documents in these areas translated into a whole range of languages. However, if you find some important information that has not been translated into your language you can request a translation from the state you live in. You can also request an interpreter if you are visiting a health care provider or your child’s school. An interpreter will help you to communicate with these agencies and will ensure that miscommunication does not take place.

COVID-19, Global Pandemics and the Role of Medical Translators and Interpreters

The 1918 Spanish Influenza pandemic swept unabated throughout the world, taking down 2 percent of the world’s population which was approximately 50 million people. One thing that would have been different back in 1918 was the availability of skilled medical translators and interpreters. Translation of course isn’t a new discipline but in 1918 the world was far less globalized. The key question is, whether the availability of skilled medical translators and interpreters has helped to lower the incidence of COVID-19.

The 1918 pandemic taught the world something and that was that some immediate action had to be taken to stop a similar outbreak from losing so many lives. It was organizations like the World Health Organisation that was founded from the necessity to have a common body to oversee health trouble spots around the world so measures could be taken to aid or eliminate the problem. As soon as an event of global significance rears its ugly head then world specialists are on to it as quickly as possible, partly to prevent global economic collapse when people are too sick to work. However, shared information has to be translated so all those experts know what their counterparts are doing in other countries. All relevant information must be fully and accurately translated so it can be shared by the relevant agencies in the global community.

There is always a possibility of more deadly global pandemics

The current COVID-19 pandemic reveals how fast an outbreak can spread throughout the world and it is helped along by air flight that is both potentially useful but also can prolong pandemics.

Many countries that are the most susceptible to the onslaught of a global pandemic speak more than one language like the United States. There is a high proportion of people who are linguistically deficient in English in the U.S. because they prefer to speak their native language like Spanish and are even employed in workplaces where the majority of the workers speak Spanish. Not many people have heard Donald Trump when addressing the nation speaking any other language except English. When he is giving out his latest guidelines for attacking COVID-19, every US citizen has to know about it otherwise they could be breaking the law if laws enacted are broken due to a language misunderstanding.

Global medical translation and medical interpreting

Medical translation and medical interpreting have become key instruments in the scientific, academic, and medical research that quickly started throughout the world following the global spread of COVID-19. In key areas like the medical industry, human translators are the only ones fully qualified to do a good job. Some countries or health care providers think it is okay to use machine translations because it is easy and fast to get results. However, even when presented with a less complex text the machine translation only gives a literal translation. It fails to capture the nuances or subtle meanings that are so easy for a human translator to translate.

When global pandemics are spreading a disease quickly around the world translation services are the key component to enable an integrated global response. Whether the current virus has found itself into meat processing plants, a hospital or care home if there are people involved who don’t speak English then the key to effective communication is through translations so that all can understand what’s going on.

The refugee crisis and a pandemic

Many refugees who pour into Germany may be able to speak neither English nor German making communication an impossible event. The host country has to quickly source translators and interpreters to keep the refugees informed

The role of translation services in a global crisis

Employing a professional translation service and skilled language interpreters is essential to enable a fast response in a global disaster. Economic disruption may be mitigated by distributing information concerning how to prevent and spread a virus so that people can continue to work and function as near to normal as possible. Even of more importance is getting information related to research, data, and analysis translated and then distributed to all relevant scientific, academic, and medical communities throughout the world.

The Role of Audio Visual Translations for Localising TV Shows and Movies

What is audiovisual translation?

Streaming movies and shows from throughout the world are now more popular than ever before. The people who most often do the streaming don’t just seek out movies and TV shows from their own country and in their own language. There is an increase in demand for the streaming of audiovisual products from all around the world. However, the audience is seeking movies and TV shows that have been translated and localized to suit their own language and culture. It doesn’t necessarily have to be dubbed, but an accurate audiovisual translation (AVT) using subtitles will suit some audiences, especially if the content of the movie is compelling and interesting to view. AVT involves the process of transferring verbal communication of both video and audio footage into different languages.

Dubbing versus subtitling

There are many different types of audiovisual translation, but the commonest is dubbing and subtitling. Another word for dubbing is revoicing, which involves the audiovisual translation of all the spoken fragments found in a movie or a TV show into another language. The original audio is substituted by a supplementary recording which is mixed in with the original soundtrack. Generally, all of the background effects and noise remain intact.
One of the key challenges of dubbing is trying to get the translated revoicing to match the actors’ gestures and lip movements. This limits the translator’s freedom and requires more imagination and flexibility to try to get the actors’ mouth movements to match the new spoken language so that the audience feels the actors speaking are both natural and synchronized. Most movie watchers feel uncomfortable when the lip movements of the actors don’t fit in naturally with the words spoken.

Subtitling is often preferred

Instead of using dubbing as the audiovisual translation method, many companies decide to use subtitles for audiovisual localisations of movies and TV shows. Subtitling in countries such as Belgium, Portugal, and the Netherlands is preferred to dubbing. For the company responsible for translating the movie or TV show it is a lot cheaper to use subtitles than dubbing. Subtitling does require skills and the product marketer cannot afford to get the audiovisual translation of the subtitling wrong, as it would lead to reduced sales and viewing. This kind of audiovisual localization requires the translating of the audio component and putting written text into the targeted language. The subtitles often appear at the bottom of the screen while the original audio remains intact. Subtitling into another language is not an easy task as it involves the audiovisual translation of both expressions and colloquial and idiomatic language. There may be character restrictions to think about as some languages require more space than others.

Challenges for AVT

These are the following:

-fast turnaround;

-accurately translating colloquial language and dialogue;

-translating concepts and terms that are culturally accepted in the new language.

Audiences expect to be able to view Hollywood movies and ongoing episodes in TV shows in real-time. This means the translators have to provide a fast turnaround to meet these requirements. Audiovisual translation specializes in manipulating humor, puns, and colloquial language. This is because much of the spoken material in a movie or TV show involves informal dialogue. Jokes and nicknames are often a key part of movies, which gives translators quite a challenge to translate accurately.
Movies and TV series often involve specific environments so the audiovisual translator has to try to understand these environments in two languages. In the end, translators create an environment that mimics one of the viewers. This requires some localization of the language so that it fits well into the context.

Summary

Audiovisual translators are required to work with image subtitling, image processing, and audio software systems so they can perfect subtitling and dubbing.

Translation and Localization Services Are in Place to Avoid Business Failures

Adapting a business message for another country in a different language isn’t as straightforward as one might expect. Many errors have been made because companies try to avoid spending too much on translation so they just get their business message across using the simple word for word translation. There is far more to a successful translation than just words, as there are the cultural aspects of a language group to consider as well. It’s extremely important to localize your marketing materials by using professional localization and translation services from reputed language service companies!

Where has international marketing failed?

  1. One of the top examples of a failed international marketing strategy was in 1994 when Orange, the telecommunications company, launched a marketing campaign with the following advert. The “future is bright, the future is Orange.” Unfortunately for the company this advert was destined for Ireland’s market and didn’t go down well at all. This is because the color orange represents the Protestants in the country, thus implying the future in Ireland was for just Protestant and not the Catholic.
  2. The number two failure is the LifeFitness Logo. This business manufactures exercising equipment and its logo is LF which is too close to 4F. This later symbol is to do with the U.S. military categorization of its personnel and 4F means that an individual isn’t considered to be physically fit enough to be drafted into the army. Quite inappropriate for the marketing of a fitness machine.
  3. Third, comes the marketing of Pepsi in Gujarati in India. One of the adverts depicted a youngster serving out Pepsi to an Indian cricket team who was celebrating a win. This was considered to be in poor taste as it glorified child labor so Hyderabad, the city where it was posted on a TV channel, sued Pepsi.
  4. This is the marketing failure for Smith Crayola International, Crayola Crayons. In 1962 this company was pressurized to alter the name of its flesh-colored products to peach colored to make them suit different colored skins.
  5. A Gerber marketing campaign fell by the wayside too in France because the word Gerber almost means vomiting which of course would be totally unsuitable for a healthy baby food product. French speakers in Quebec found it unacceptable as well.
  6. IKEA is a global name and represents a Swedish furniture making company. One product a workbench with wheels was marketed by IKEA under the most unsuitable name Fartfull. The word is fine to use in Swedish as the meaning of Fährt is a vehicle that moves using wheels but rather off-putting if used when marketing to English speaking markets.
  7. The internet dating site JokeSeventh is an Israeli business that refers to it being an “Intimidate Dating Service” in English. This sounds entirely unattractive to an English speaker but not so for a Hebrew speaker because in this language intimi means intimate which is fine to use in a website targeting Israelis.
  8. Irish Mist Liqueur International took its marketing campaign to Germany, not realizing the word mist when translated means “dung,” so the phrase “Irish Dung” was not really that appealing amongst the German market.
  9. Traficante Mineral Water is a water processing company from Italy and “Traficante” is one of its brands of mineral water. When targeting the Spanish market the product name sounds quite similar narcotraficante which is a word used for a drug dealer. So the mineral water was not so popular after all.
  10. Sharwoods sauces have a range of sources called “Bundh.” When these were marketed in India, Punjabi speakers were not happy at all as the word “bundh” resembles a similar word in Punjabi which means one’s backside. Sharwoods were hesitant about changing the name as it was up to the Punjabi market to taste the product before expressing an opinion about it.

These 10 failures which would have cost the businesses both reputation and money are in part due to the companies failing to emphasize the importance of localization when getting marketing material translated and ready to be deployed to the markets of non-English speakers.
Localization prepares a translation so it fits the cultural characteristics of the targeted market. Anything from colors to words directly influenced the way different cultures view the world. Only if a market strategy is just right will it have a powerful influence on the buying intentions of the global market.
Sometimes, businesses think they are marketing a product that has a well-known name. This could be true, but this doesn’t prevent potential customers from shifting away from a product if the advertising material doesn’t suit their cultural preferences. So it is wise to get your business website translated and localized by a professional translation service so you get off on the right footing.

 

 

Deepfake Videos Explained

Deepfake software offers people the chance to manipulate videos using skills that make the results look real. Basically, deepfake technology may be used so that people appear to undertake things that they in fact actually have not done.

Examples of deepfake videos

If you would like to view a deepfake video you only need to Google ‘Barrack Obama deepfake’ and you will see this previous United States president ‘saying’ things that are quite shocking and not what you would ever expect to hear. The video originates from Jordan Peele’s production company, which is an American comedian and actor. Typically, the deepfake video industry has focused more on discrediting celebrities in relation to pornographic acts.
They source a pornographic production and edit celebrities’ faces and superimpose them over the faces of the actors. So far apart from embarrassing the celebrity not much real harm has been done. However, the potential is there to fuel tension in all sorts of situations notably at election time when smearing political rivals is sought after the task. It has been revealed that 75 percent of the population wouldn’t believe a deepfake video was really fake, which could set dangerous precedents if used more in the future,

Video translators may be able to detect a deepfake video

A deepfake video may not just remain in one language so translators could be called upon to provide any of the following translation services for this type of video:

  • editing,
  • captioning,
  • closed captioning,
  • subtitling,
  • voice-overs.

Freelance translators and translation agencies which offer video translations to clients throughout the world and whose efforts are more focused on the technical aspects, are in the strongest positions to spot a deepfake video. There is one well-known sign that could indicate a deepfake video and that is the presence of blinking. Deepfake technology utilizes images to form the ‘skin’ that appears on the original video.
Politicians and well-known personalities are typically photographed when their eyes are open, but deepfake software struggles with blinking. Resulting from this is that the deepfake subjects usually blink less than real people and the blinking could appear slightly off. Another detection method is slowing down the video which if it shows blurring in the face and the doubling up of the eyebrows and chin is also a clear indication of the use of a deepfake video. Slowing down a video is commonly done by translators so they catch all the words required for translation.

Should you translate a deepfake video?

As a freelance translator, you don’t have to accept work if you think it could have adverse results for others. However, if you take on the translation and, as you are doing it, find that the content is likely to have a criminal or harmful elements in it, you can go ahead and just convert the audio to a text form and report your findings to the relevant authority. If it requires a translation to be understood in your country, you could do that as well.
Deepfake software is advancing at an alarming rate so it is one of the responsibilities of the video translation industry to keep an eye open for these sorts of videos so that they can’t harm people or influence their opinions in the wrong way. One other thing freelance translators can do and that is spread the word about the presence of deepfake videos and the harm they can inflict on others.