Last week I followed tweets from #TranslatingEurope Forum just to get an idea what Europe thinks about the future of the translation industry. While some of them seemed very interesting and gave me valuable insights on some aspects of the translation work I’ve never thought of before (especially with respect to intellectual property rights of tranlsators), others made my jaw drop. As a 100% human CAT (author’s note: computer assisted translator), anything that mentions machine translation drives me slowly insane.

Maybe I got it all wrong, but suggesting that ‘Training translation students in mac[h]ine translation is the way to go‘ makes me wonder if we need translators at all: machines can do that for us. Instead of being assisted by machines, are we going to assist machines? Is the judgment day for translators coming?

Don’t misunderstand me, I appreciate any good CAT tools. In fact, I can’t imagine working without them as they offer priceless help in form of translation memories and terminology glossaries to boost my productivity, enhance quality and maintain consistency across translated texts. Yes, translation technology has made massive progress but it still is far from perfect. Just as I am writing this post, I have come across an article that goes straight to the point I am trying to make here: “[u]ntil we can build a robot that is as artificially intelligent as a human, true translation automation may be a long ways off.”

Or, to put it simply: unless HE is the machine that translates, machine translation can kiss my behind.




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