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What will the future of AI in the translation industry look like?

artificial intelligence and translation Eurotrad

Every innovation, no matter how captivating, comes with a sense of uncertainty and apprehension. This holds true when new advancements enter the world of work, promising improvements while raising doubts. The same is happening with artificial intelligence, which is driving significant transformations across various sectors—including translation.
While AI undeniably offers utility in translation work, it can never fully replace the role of a professional translator. Despite its ability to comprehend concepts, AI cannot attain the level of human intelligence required for translations. Language is a dynamic and ever-evolving entity, filled with intricate nuances that constantly evolve over time.

But what exactly is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a field within computer science that focuses on developing algorithms and systems capable of emulating human intelligence in performing tasks. These tasks encompass a wide range of activities, including learning, planning, problem-solving, and natural language understanding.
AI operates by leveraging extensive datasets and intricate algorithms that simulate the functionality of biological neural networks. It has become an integral component of various everyday technologies, including search engines and virtual assistants. The fusion of artificial intelligence with translation has also brought about significant transformations in the workforce, extending its impact beyond translation to sectors like healthcare and finance.

Translation Methods with AI

Translation has been an integral part of human history and language since ancient times, gradually evolving into a refined profession. Evidence of translation can be traced back to 4,500-year-old Sumerian-Jewish vocabularies inscribed on clay tablets, discovered by archaeologists. This attests to the existence of translation even in the earliest periods of civilisation.
While the collaboration between human translators and AI tools like ChaptGPT or other chatbots can foster optimal synergies, it does not pose a threat to the translator's profession.  On the contrary, attempting translations without the assistance of technology can be arduous and challenging. Relying solely on chatbots or similar automated systems often yields inadequate results, underscoring the necessity of collaboration with skilled human translators.
Translation methods involving AI have evolved and revolutionised the translation process. One common approach is neural machine translation (NMT), which utilises deep neural networks to translate texts. Unlike rule-based or statistical methods, NMT considers the entire sentence as a unit, leading to smoother translations.
Statistical machine translation (SMT) is another method that relies on statistical models derived from bilingual texts. AI also employs machine learning techniques to enhance translation quality over time, adapting to language models and user preferences.
Computer-aided translation (CAT) combines artificial intelligence and human translation, assisting translators with suggestions and translation memories to improve efficiency. These methods are enhancing professional translations by increasing accuracy, speed, and efficiency.

Pros and Cons of AI in Translations

The use of AI in business translations presents advantages and disadvantages. AI offers speed, making it useful for translating large volumes of text quickly.
However, when comparing AI and human translation, it is crucial to consider the downsides. AI lacks an understanding of cultural context and linguistic nuances, resulting in translations that may be grammatically correct but fail to convey the original meaning.
Additionally, AI can struggle with deciphering idiomatic expressions, idioms, and technical terminology. In summary, while AI provides efficiency and speed in translations, it must be used cautiously and integrated with the experience and expertise of human translators.

Why Choose Human Translators

When quality, accuracy, and cultural sensitivity are paramount, choosing human translators is the best option. Unlike machines, human translators possess a profound understanding of linguistic nuances, idioms, and cultural context.
They can interpret the tone, style, and intent of a text, ensuring the effective conveyance of the original message in the target language. This is particularly crucial in areas where errors or inaccuracies can have significant consequences. Human translators add a personal touch, adapting the text to resonate with the specific audience. Ultimately, considering a choice between AI or human translation would be a mistake. While AI is improving, it cannot match human capabilities to think critically and make decisions based on a wide range of contextual and cultural factors. For high-quality translations that demand precision and cultural sensitivity, human translators remain an indispensable choice.

Redazione Eurotrad

September 18, 2023

Redazione Eurotrad

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