Technology, Translation, and Possible Futures

Business insights
Posted by Athena Parthenos

Technology has often been seen as something completely unrelated to the translation world. We often think about translators as figures writing down on paper what they read, pen in hand. Needless to say, reality is a bit different.

Technology should exist to improve life—and that includes a translator's life.

In fact, it is not a new idea that translators use Cat tool software programs that store translation in separate files and whose main feature is translation memory. They definitely help speed up the translation process and reduce costs. We talk about it here.

Beside these Cat tools, there are other kinds of technologies that can lend a hand to interpreters and translators. These include:

  • Interpretation technology
    Technology allows interpreters to work remotely and deliver interpretation on multiple devices, such as phones or tablets. Working remotely also means that interpreters do not have travel costs, so the final cost can be reduced.
  • Machine Translation
    Machine translation is a fully automated software that translates source content into target languages. It is usually used to translate a large number of words. However, at the end of the process the need for quality control and editing still remains, and this must be done by a human proofreader.
  • Translation Management System
    Translation management systems are used by project managers, who have to oversee multiple projects at the same time. The benefit of a TMS is that it automates the translation process and eliminates repetitive tasks.

However, all these activities require human intervention, whether for translation, editing, or proofreading.

Still, translation technologies that might no longer require human intervention have been developed in recent years.

In its latest Hot Consumer Trends 2018 report, Ericsson Consumer Lab found that 63% of surveyed people would like “earbuds that can translate in real time". That is, in every situation, a person can have speech translated in his/her native language in real time without the need for a human interpreter or translator.

Google, for instance, has just released its Google Pixel Buds, a kind of earbud linked to Google Translate. Once you opened the Translate app on your phone, the earbuds can instantly translate the words of your interlocutor. Similarly, if you put a finger on the earbuds, they listen to and translate your own words. And this works with all 40 languages already supported in the Translate app.

Is this the future of translation and interpreting?

Written by Marcella Sartore, Marketing & Communication Assistant @ Athena Parthenos

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