Is there a future for translators?

This is the second part of our analysis of the future of translators and interpreters. Let us remember that in the previous article we analysed the situation and predicted that translators will sooner or later be replaced by some advanced software solution: translators who work with usual text are in the first wave, translators who deal with specific texts, fiction texts will work longer. We also predicted that simultaneous interpreters, who assist in negotiations, would never disappear, even though their number is expected to decrease. 

In today’s article we are going to aggregate some opinions of professionals who work in the niches of translation/interpretation which we managed to collect. Let’s go!

Recognizing the complexity of the issue, the first opinion of Mr. Michael Wardell, he says that in fact machine translation tools, like Google Translate, are of great popularity today, and the quality of its translation is not satisfied. And results of machine translation requires and editor to check and improve the text. An editor has to be an erudite in both languages to be able to check the translation properly. 

So the conclusion here is that as long as there are multiple languages people use, we will need professionals who know how to express something said on one language by means of another. 

There is one more interesting opinion of Mr. Dimo Yagcioglu, that says that many people dream about having some device like Universal Translator, that was demonstrated in several sci-fi films. However, universal translator, as an earbud interpreting device that provides a user with the correct translation is still a fantasy. Actually, the mentioned Google Translator pretends to have an image of a Universal Translator, but looks like “universal” here means that it can translate a big number of the world languages, instead of a meaning of a “final solution” for any translating/interpreting task.

By the way, the author of the opinion says also that importance of translators and interpreters is increasingly diminishing.

Briefly about other opinions we have at our disposal:

  1. Mr. David Phillips: The number of languages and dialects inside languages is enormous. Probably, software systems someday will learn to translate/interpret core languages like English, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, but there will be people who work with other not so popular and even exotic languages.
  2. It is expected that sooner or later Chinese will become a universal language, replacing English. Many attempts to develop a universal language were failed, and interpreters will never disappear. – Mr. Ted Bacino. 
  3. An interesting remark of Mr. Gregory Zak about fiction texts translation: a poem takes a poet to translate. Does it mean long life for translator profession..?
  4. Translation process itself is not simple, says Mr. David Michael. Anyone who has tried to become skilled in another language probably understands why this is true already. When someone uses a word, they convey a wealth of meaning beyond the obvious. A skilled translation conveys that meaning as closely as possible. That means you need to know what was meant in the source language, and know the comparable word in the target language. So, here is the problem of any machine translator – it doesn’t see the meaning, the context of things. 

In our opinion, any language, as well as any translation task from this language to another, is a set of linear algorithms.. Something like:

if something is written in “languagename”

and if the style of text is “stylename”

or if the context is “contextname”

then in “languagename1” it is …

Surely, we completely agree that this algorithm is not a basic solution for universal translator. We just want to say that most probably in the future all the languages will be transferred to a set of digital algorithms, which is already done partially, by the way. And this will mean open the way to creation of an advanced translating solution. And adding to this modules for voice recognition and voice reproduction opens the way to creating an advanced interpreting solution. Do you agree? Let us know!translators will disappear