How many times have you used Google Translate for translating text in one language to another? And how many times have you laughed aloud or shook your head at the mediocre quality of translation?
Well, I have – a good number of times.
The usefulness of translation software that uses AI and machine translation cannot be denied. They take a huge load of work off you. However, let us see how AI in translation compares with the human brain that has ruled the translation industry for years.
Role of AI in Translation
500 million people use Google Translate every day. And, every day, it processes 143 billion words. This is the kind of rapid growth AI-powered translation tools like Google Translate or DeepL are making every passing day.
Such tools process new words in different languages and create their own database of words. This database trains the tool in performing automatic translation from one language to another. That is machine translation, in short.
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Automatic Translation Tools
Most language translators are today using technology of some kind. These tools make them more efficient and reduce their workload. However, AI is not here to replace humans. AI is here to make humans more efficient at work.
The main factor that gives humans an edge is that they understand what they are translating – the language, the context, and the nuances. However, machine translation can do quick translation, is cheap, and has an unlimited capacity.
Read Chatbots in Learning to get a glimpse of how AI can positively influence the education sector.
According to the Future of Jobs 2018 report, machines and algorithms are expected to displace 75 million jobs by 2022. However, they will also create 133 million jobs!
Tools that use machine translation, such as Google Translate and Bing Translator, have improved over the years. But they are far from their ultimate target – to achieve human translation standards.
In fact, human creativity and intellect needed in jobs like translation will be a pipe dream for machine translation to achieve.
Shortfalls of Robots, AI in Translation
While robots can take over driving, detecting tumors, navigating routes, predicting weather conditions and play games, they cannot completely replace humans in certain roles. Robots need to be fed inputs and patterns to perform tasks and improve upon existing results.
Machine translation tools follow set rules and grammar text that they are pre-programmed on. However, despite rules of grammar and syntax, language use is contextual. Which makes translation beyond the complete scope of robots and machine translators.
Look at the image below. After years of improvisation, the translation of such a basic sentence is incorrect!
Did you know languages influence one another? ‘Bungalow’ is not originally an English word. Watch this short video to know how hundreds of Hindi words influenced the English language.
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Machine Translation and Translators: Best Together
In May 2020, Microsoft replaced around 30 of its news editors with AI-backed robots. The robots were responsible for selecting, editing, and curating news content. However, within a month of this replacement decision, it backfired. The robot editors wrongly used a photo of a celebrity in a news article, leading to social media uproar.
In creative tasks like news writing and translation, while AI-powered robots can help improve the efficiency of humans at work, replacing humans will lead to such recurring errors.
Language professionals as translators are responsible for intercultural dialogues at the global level. They facilitate discussion, cooperation and understanding among global leaders – thus paving way for development and unity.
Reports and speeches often contain elements of humour and satire – which cannot be translated in their essence without the help of a human mind at work.
The work done by AI-powered robots in translation cannot be denied. They learn enormous amounts of text in various languages, grammar rules, and sentence structures. But they need patterns of text to depend on.
Human translators need AI tools as much for their efficiency and quality as these robotic tools need humans. Both complement each other and can together improve productivity while decreasing the company cost and time.
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