Are we about to dismiss all our translators? (Spoiler alert – No way!!)

It took Lenin exactly two days (in October 1917) to overthrow the government in Russia and establish the communist regime that lasted for many years.

Our revolution is taking a little longer, and it speaks in all languages, not only Russian. I am referring to the AI machine translation revolution. 

The machine is obviously not a physical contraption with moving parts, gears and vents where Charlie Chaplin goes in at one end and comes out of the other in one piece – but an advanced software that inputs the text in one language (the source language) and outputs a translation in the target language.

In our world today there are inconceivable amounts of information available at the push of a button.

To translate even a small portion of that information would require countless translators. Unfortunately, there are not enough of them around to deal with such enormous amounts of data.

And so, just like electricity replaced steam and fuel replaced horses, artificial intelligence is replacing the human translator.

There is, however, a clear differentiation between simple texts based mainly on data, and more complex texts that require human intervention.

If, for example, we take texts such as cricket results in the Pakistani league or the average rainfalls in the tropical regions on earth, a translation engine will translate them quickly and effectively without any human intervention. There are, however, more complex texts that require editing by a human editor, whether it be a quick proofreading to make sure there are no embarrassing mistakes, or a more in-depth and precise editing to upgrade text quality to an optimal translation level. 

Machine translating does not make human intervention redundant

If for a moment it crossed your mind that we have already prepared dismissal letters for all our translators, you would be absolutely wrong, on the contrary.

It is true that an advanced translation engine can perform the translation at a certain level of precision, however it must be delivered with the reviewing of a human eye to make all necessary corrections and editing. 

A few months ago, I attended a seminar on machine translation at Locworld Berlin (to read more about the conference – press here) and I would like to share a conversation I had with Peng Wang, an expert on behalf of the International Localization Institute for Machine Translation. She speaks about the advantages of using machine translation, and I am inviting you to listen to what she has to say:

And who benefits most from this revolution?

You guessed right – our clients. 

Machine translating takes less time, which of course reduces the costs of translations.

Now do you understand why there is such a crazy buzz?

Just to make it perfectly clear, the complete and full translation of a book by a human translator would cost several thousands of euro/dollars and would take several weeks/months. 

Machine Translation post editing would cost 30% less. 

Why would a client mind paying less while receiving similar quality in half the time?!

Don’t get me wrong, we have not abandoned human translation, most of the translations currently done at Lichi are still fully performed by human translators, but we have introduced machine translation as part of the working process, where relevant. 

We at Lichi Translations choose to stay ahead and keep on marching forward, because, as you can see, we all benefit from it. 

Should you use advanced translation engines and artificial intelligence in your next translation project?

I invite you to contact me to discuss the matter, free of charge.

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