Translation Industry Trends 2009 vs 2019
Last Updated On: January 29, 2019 by The Migration Translators
One thing is certain and that is that the role of translation has brought a greater ability for effective communication to take place around the world. It transforms borders between countries, permits more successful trade and allows freer movement of people to places previously unknown to them. Overall though, despite the gains for the translation industry, it has seen many changes over the last 10 years. In fact, more than at any other time in history. Some of the changes are positive, while others may appear to undermine the use of human translators as the main instigators of reliable accurate translations.
Main Translation Game Changer is the Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI)
What has alarmed the translation industry the most over the last decade is the use of artificial intelligence to perform translations. A simple example of this is Google Translate. This AI tool was first introduced some 13 years ago. Its goal was the ongoing desire that has been a presence for a number of centuries and that’s to break down language barriers and make the world far more accessible. It began by supporting just two languages but today it supports more than 103. The hundreds of users 13 years ago have led to hundreds of millions today. The commonest languages used in Google Translate occur between English and Spanish, Arabic, Indonesian, Russian, and Portuguese. Overall 100 billion words are translated every day.
The use of Google Translate and other forms of AI has without a doubt eased global communication problems and helps people out in awkward situations that could occur on vacation or on a business trip. As long as you have a cell phone with an internet connection the translation tool is available.
No one disputes the practicality of Google Translate, but the key problem is how it translates. Its aim isn’t to focus on a deep understanding of the language. It comes up with a simple decode of the language inputted into it which is just enough to gain sufficient understanding. There is an easy way to try the reliability of Google Translate and that’s by inputting a sentence in a foreign language, not your own, and ask it to translate into your language. You will see imperfections in both word usages and sentence flow. No doubt it’s sufficient to understand the gist of the meaning but it’s not by any means perfect.
AI Translation Benefits All
The technological age, including AI in translation, has without a doubt had amazing benefits. It allows those who use social media to communicate better by breaking down previously impenetrable language obstacles and it promotes sharing and open communication and sharing.
AI Translation does have Limitations
An experienced human translator still has advantages over any known AI translation tool, in that it’s able to encompass idioms, cultural references, tone and even humour and jokes. An AI translation may be able to translate many sentences perfectly, but it can trip up when it’s presented with problems when asked to translate idioms and nuances in another language.
Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) tool helps Translators Today
Despite AI aiding translations for anyone that chooses to use it, this doesn’t mean translation companies over the last 10 years haven’t taken advantage of technological advancements. Today, professional translation companies use a tool that stores and recalls their work when they are working on a translation project. These tools referred to a CAT for short work as a database and are also called translation memories(TM). A sentence is given to a human translator which is translated and then approved. This translated sentence is stored, so the next time the translator is approached to translate a similar sentence, the CAT tool will quickly suggest a translation from its TM, which results in a faster translation.
This is an example of how translators have kept up with translation trends over the last 10 years. They can construct their own terminology lists by specialism, keep them stored in the CAT database and recycle them as determined by the CAT tool when asked to do a new translation. A CAT Tool is an aid used by translators which provide good translations time after time.
A business that uses the same translation company which uses CAT technology saves a lot of money on translations because the process is so much faster as the translator can use past material as a basis for every translation for that business. If a business wants a catalogue updating the translation company should have the original catalogue stored in TM.
CAT tools aren’t perfect, but as a complement to a human translator, they have allowed faster and better translation offering work for translators and fast turnarounds for clients. There are a few translation companies that don’t depend on CAT tools today as it makes them more competitive as they can offer better rates to clients.
Faster Turnarounds are in Demand
Because clients are no longer willing to wait long periods for translators to produce the perfect translations this has forced translation services to use CAT and TM so that they can recycle older content completed for a client which avoids starting each new translation from scratch.
In summary, while MT is used often to help the translation process and CAT tools are time savers, even today perfection of a translation is only possible with input from a human translator. Machine Translation is good as a provider of a basic translation and is improving day by day, but it needs transcreation to put it into the right context. This requires the skills of a translator to tailor the original material so that it goes down better with the targeted audience. So over the last 10 years machines have been trained to translate words but they haven’t yet been programmed to understand the greater complexities of a language and how humans manipulate words to suit themselves.