Throughout human history, there’s been nothing as constant as change. Technology has dramatically shaped and changed the way we communicate over time, from early grunts and cave paintings to modern-day text messages and social media posts. But can tech handle language without human interference? Let’s read on!
Tech and language translation services
Technology has always played a huge role in the multilingual translation industry. From dictionaries to translation software, technology has been used to help translators do their jobs more accurately and effectively.
In recent years, there has been a surge in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the language industry. Although decades ago, AI produced awkward and often inaccurate results, today AI is being used to create translations of multiple languages that are more accurate than they used to be.
Early examples of language technology
For centuries, humans have been fascinated with the idea of communication across cultures. The first use of technology in translation occurred when the ancient Egyptians used hieroglyphics to record their history and literature.
In the 1500s, the advent of the printing press contributed to the mass production of books in many languages. In the 1800s, the invention of the typewriter furthered the mass production of written work and brought it into the hands of translators. With this new machine, translators were able to type their translations into a book or journal without having to write them by hand.
What is AI?
Artificial intelligence is a new technical discipline that investigates and develops ideas, methodologies, technological platforms, and application systems for emulating the extension and expansion of human intelligence.
One of the ultimate goals of artificial intelligence research is to enable machines to execute complex jobs that would otherwise require intelligent humans to complete them successfully.
The translation industry has always relied on human translators to translate documents. As technology improved and became more accessible, so did translation software.
What is machine translation?
Artificial intelligence in translation was initially used for simple word-for-word translations, but it has since evolved into a tool that is used by many professional translators. Google Translate and many other types of automated translations rely on artificial intelligence (AI) to translate documents between languages.
The term Artificial Intelligence was coined in 1956 at a workshop in at Dartmouth College. Researchers there theorized that a machine as intelligent as a human mind would take no more than one generation to exist.
Today there are many different types of translation tools available to translators, each with its strengths and weaknesses. The most popular type is called “Machine Translation (MT)”, which uses algorithms to translate text into another language.
Combining man and machine
To provide quality translation service, it is important to have a team of talented translators and editors who are experts in their field. However, it is also necessary to have access to the latest technology so that translation projects can be processed quickly and accurately.
This is where artificial intelligence comes into play.
While some multilingual translation services rely solely on machine translation, combining machine translation with human editors is the more favored approach.
The ability of AI multilingual translator programs to improve over time means that the quality of translations will only continue to get better. So, if you need a translation that is accurate and fast, then you should consider using language translation services that incorporate AI technology into its workflow.
This is especially useful when you or a company want to travel or do business abroad. Interpretation services as well as translation services can also help make it easier for people in contact, who speak different languages, to understand each other to have more effective conversations on subject matter expertise.
How is AI changing the way we translate?
The most significant way AI has changed the industry is by providing access to text that would otherwise never be made available in many languages. The amount of online content has exploded over the last few decades. Global companies or any organization wishing to reach a global network can rely on machine translation to translate FAQs, message boards, help instructions, and a variety of content that would otherwise change too frequently or be too costly to provide.
AI in the context of a multilingual translation service provides job opportunities by opening businesses up to other target markets. Multilingual project managers, bilingual staff, and the professional interpreter will continue to see additional business as the world becomes more connected and communication barriers break down.
AI is also changing the way we translate by helping to automate the translation process. This means that translators can now use AI to do some of the work for them in a timely manner, which makes the turnaround time for execution feasible, and the process more efficient.
Limitations With AI Technology
While machine translation software has come a long way, it still has its limitations. For example, most multilingual machine translation software is not able to account for the cultural context of a document.
This can often lead to inaccurate translations. For translation software to become truly effective, it needs to be able to take into account the cultural context of a document.
Also, the problem of machine translation quality is still unresolved. In many cases, without an editor, machine translations are not as accurate as human translations. This is often because machines cannot account for the nuances of a language.
For example, in some languages, multiple words can be used to describe the same thing depending on the context. Machines can choose the wrong word, which can lead to inaccurate translations. It’s not just that they have different spelling, but that they also have different core syntax, i.e., word order, and that they are culturally highly different from one another.
Take, for instance, translating to English the French phrase “L’industrie automobile britannique en position de force avant l’échéance du Brexit”.
The original English statement indicates that the automotive industry in the United Kingdom is fearful of the worst (and placing itself in a defensive position, like passengers on a plane before a crash). The French equivalent, on the other hand, states the inverse: that the UK car is in a position of authority (en position de force).
Human bias in AI
Furthermore, bias is also a problem in language translation. Algorithms are only as good as the data they are given, and if that data is biased then the algorithm will be biased too. This can often lead to bias in machine translations.
For example, if you type in “I like my doctor,” in English, doctor is automatically rendered in the masculine in Spanish in Google Translate. But if you type in “I like my nurse,” you get the feminine form ‘enfermera.’ Why does this happen? Because all over the internet, the word doctor occurs in the highest frequency with the pronouns ‘he’ and ‘him,’ while ‘nurse’ occurs in the highest frequency beside female pronouns.
Can AI replace human translators?
One thing remains clear – AI cannot fully function well in multilingual translation without human help. In fields like medical translation etc., where accuracy is of the utmost importance and a mistranslation may result in the loss of life, human translation is still a better option.
Agencies that provide translation services, however, can utilize a dedicated project manager, AI, and experienced editors of the target language to identify texts that are ideal candidates for machine translation. Legal documents, for example, are often prime candidates for machine translation. Marketing documents, on the other hand, are not.
The use of experienced translators and editors working in tandem with AI can lead to quality translations that are culturally sensitive, accurate, and appropriate. Businesses need to understand how this technology can help them communicate with their customers and clients in their native languages.
While translation services have been around for quite some time, they are becoming increasingly popular as the amount of online content vastly increases every year.
Multilingual translation is an important skill that will continue to become even more important in the future as we move towards a globalized world where multilingual translation services are needed more and more.
As the world continues to become smaller and more connected, communication and language translation will become even more important in the future. The multilingual translation agency is constantly evolving with the advancement of technology and artificial intelligence.
For translation and interpretation services to continue to be effective, we must ensure that it is in their best form. As Nelson Mandela once said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”