Translation Technology is Changing the Way We Communicate

This is a guest post by Alison Williams

Technology is going through rapid change in all areas of life, from how we communicate to how goods are produced. The change in the technology used in translation is following the same trend.

Translating from one language to another has usually been left to those who were either born into a bilingual world or have acquired multi language fluency early on. These specialists have used their skills to learn technical terminology in their pair of languages so that they could gain employment translating in specialist areas.

These days there are endless possibilities for getting a text translated apart from through a human translator. For a simple translation task that gives the gist of the meaning Google Translate and similar computer aided translation tools offer a useful if limited resource. But these simple translation technologies aren’t completely effective when it comes to accuracy in the translation.

Mutual Understanding Created by Better Communication Technology

The earliest phase of humanity’s existence saw a mushrooming of different languages. As people spread throughout the world, languages evolved and changed, making it more and more difficult for people to communicate with each other. This was especially true when natural geographical barriers prevented people from communicating. When these geographical barriers broke down, the differences that had developed in language acted as a barrier between communities. Today, the opposite is happening. Smaller languages are disappearing and the need for effective communication is even more important as globalisation closes the geographical gap between people their cultures and their languages.

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

Machine learning and artificial intelligence are becoming more a normal part of translation and are increasingly opening up opportunities in many areas of our lives, including in the education sector. These technologies are having a tremendous effect on translation which will ultimately change the way people communicate with each other.

One example of technology that is currently being developed is a device that can pick up a particular language and automatically translate it. The listener can hear it in his or her language via an earphone. This technology hasn’t even begun to emerge on a large scale. So far, there is software available that can be loaded on to a mobile phone but the quality of the listening devices isn’t high enough for the listener to get anything more than the gist of what is going on.

People typically prefer to communicate in their native language, so there is an increasing need for translation technology and the digitizing of languages so that translations can take place using voice recognition. Even more important in this increasingly culturally homogeneous world is the need to preserve some of the lesser known languages. This can be done if automated translation technology is programmed to understand and translate these languages, thus limiting the chance they could be lost altogether.

Author: Alison Williams

article author

My interest in writing became important to me in 2001 after I gained an MA in Applied Linguistics and I started to move into writing as a means of securing an income. I have since then specialised in writing blog posts and web pages for a variety of clients including those in the legal and translation niches. I have built up the ability as a highly skilled writer to communicate with a variety of audiences and in an array of styles and formats. Over the past few years, I have worked with executives, entrepreneurs, industry experts and many other professionals in writing and publishing, SEO web content, blogs, newspaper articles and more.




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Multilizer / Niko Papula

I am managing director of Multilizer, a Finnish software company specialising in software for enhancing translation quality, speed and cost.