If you start or end the day conversing with your smart speaker, dictating into your computer or using a language app, you’re already communicating with machines.
The ability for a computer to understand what we are saying – in any language – is now built into more areas of life than you might first realise. An algorithm determines what you see on the internet, based on the search terms you’ve inputted in the past. Voice recognition can control appliances in your home and even act as security for banking services.
When it comes to professional translation, should you put your trust in the emerging machine translation technology, or play it safe with human translators?
What are the fundamental differences between machine and human translation?
There’s no doubt that the power of NMT – and the fact it continues learning as more and more data is fed into the system – is absolutely adequate to tackle many translation tasks.
Yet these machines, intelligent as they are, still have their limitations. Whilst machine translation is developing at an incredible rate, it would still struggle to deliver high percentage accurate translation and is not yet clever enough to pick up the nuances of language. Some machine translations are now good enough to produce excellent quality but this can be more dangerous – it makes it easier for mis-interpretations to be overlooked completely, which can often change the entire tone or sentiment of a message.
So yes – NMT is developing at lightning speed, but machines aren’t replacing humans just yet. For now, professional translators will always need to input somewhere in the translation process – whether that’s from the start, or in the post-edit.
It’s questionable whether robots will ever have the sophistication and emotion of a human brain – and until they do, nothing beats the accuracy and quality of professional human translators.
Need professional human translation?
Here at Sure Languages, a lot of our translation work involves localizing and adapting content or dealing with complex source material. Translation fluency and accuracy are important to us, and all of our translators (and project managers) are human.
If you have any questions about the best way to go about translating any content, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.