In recent years, language translation becomes something that artificial intelligence – specifically machine learning has demonstrated to be very competent at. The results from machine translation are more digestible and accurate nowadays, which is far from the word-by-word translation when it was first introduced. With such an amazing evolution, will translators become obsolete in the future? Here are 5 pointers to help you answer the question.
Machines are able to convert all the texts in just a minute but when it mixes with cultural factors, most of the results become quirky. Each country and religion in the world have their lexical items such as idioms, slangs, names, etc that are unique to that particular culture. While this could be a significant challenge to the machine, native human translators can easily convert the source meaning into appropriate similar expressions since they’re well-versed in the languages and understand all the cultural elements.
Without an update of nuances adaptation, machine translation will hardly replace linguists in terms of accurate and high-quality translation, putting human translators at a very high level compared to automated translation.
The context adaptation
Every language has many words with dual meanings and this can be a great obstacle to machine translators. To determine which expression fits in the sentence, we can only rely on the context of the whole sentences or paragraphs, which can merely execute by native linguists. For example, the word “story” in English can refer to an account of imaginary or real people and events told for entertainment, but also indicate building levels. This now becomes tricky for the machines as they cannot analyze the context to come up with a proper translation. In contrast, it’s no longer an obstacle if humans handle these situations as they can identify the correct meaning by immediately matching the word to the content.
If you rely on machines to translate these kinds of words, it will lead to inaccurate and odd translations that disrupt the flow of the text and the content will lack logical meaning.
The variety of languages
New terms and phrases are being developed frequently in every specialization. Machine translators cannot be able to pick on these evolutions in the update as prompt as human translators who are experts on both languages and specific sectors to update new information about their field. Especially when it comes to marketing or personal training, the evolutions and changes occur regularly causing significant challenges to the engines. It requires much attention and effort of humans to continuously program with complex algorithms. Otherwise, the machines are unable to learn new phrases base on the contexts, leading to poor and inaccurate output.
The style and tone
The last aspect to discuss and answer the question of will translators become obsolete due to machine translation is the style and tone. Each document has a specific style and tone as compared to the other one. Content may have poetic, hilarious, sarcasm, or persuasive expression but when it is translated by machine, all may fall flat. If a document lacks appropriate style and tone, the readers will not fully sense the core intended meaning of the content, making it becomes soul-less.
Contents like poetry and argumentative essay pose a struggle to machines as they’re unable to gather the mood of the text. As a result, flat and unattractive translation is what we receive. In this circumstance, only a human linguist can recreate a new version that still keeps the style and tone intact.
When to use machine translation
With those limitations, machine translation can only apply to several types of contents to avoid any consequences for companies, organizations, and individuals. If the content is not too important and follows a structured style of language then machine translation can deliver a proper output. This is due to the tight language set, which can pave the way for the software to convert with a limited scope. The document related to legal, procedures can be run well with automated machines. In addition, for pieces of content that are simple in sentence structure and do not strongly affect the whole performance like customer reviews, machine translation could be an economical option.
For the time being, the question of will translators become obsolete due to machine translation can be easily answered with a “No”. As Its outputs are lack emotion, cultural relevance, and up-to-date information, human linguists will still have to step in the process to achieve a top-notch translation.