AI translation- How do you think?
Thread poster: k.Jeong

South Korea
Local time: 13:53
Korean to English
+ ...
Jul 12, 2016

Hi guys,
I started to work as a translator since 2014, and this is my first job. I would like to ask you how you think about AI translation.

Al has been spotlighted very much, after the go game match, which was held early this year. The game ended up with the winning of AlphaGo, which was developed by Google AI team. After that, translators around me now worry about losing their job, since it feels as if AI will replace the human translators.

I started my career as a translator, and if I continue working in this field, I would know nothing more than this. But I also wonder "for how long will I be able to work as a translator? 10 yrs? 20yrs?" If I were in my 40s or 50s, I wouldn't worry or consider to start a new job. But since I'm still in my 20s, I sometimes come to worry about this matter.

So I'd like to ask if you know anything about the development of AI translation (not machine translation) or your personal opinion on this matter.

[Edited at 2016-07-13 05:08 GMT]


LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:23
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
If AI ever reaches the point where... Jul 12, 2016

... it can replace translators + with advancement in robotics = 98% of people will be out of work. Think about it, if a machine can understand and manipulate language well enough to translate plus move around in space, manipulate objects and speak, there is very little work left for human beings to do. With advancements in CGI graphics, even actors and YouTubers would be done by robots.

What we need to worry about in the near future is raising people's expectations about what a translation should be. Right now, crowdsourcing platforms are lowering the standards of translation and customer expectations.

To ease your mind, read this book Future Hype: The Myths of Technology Change (link: ) It shows how humans are almost always wrong about predicting the future of technology

[Edited at 2016-07-12 07:12 GMT]


Siegfried Armbruster  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:23
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
AI? What AI? Jul 12, 2016

k.Jeong wrote:

Al has been spotlighted very much, after the game of go, which was held early this year. The game ended up with the winning of AlphaGo, which was developed by Google AI team. After that, translators around me started to worry about loosing their job, since it feels as if AI will replace the human translators.

I don't play GO and I never considered language or intelligence being anything similar to a "game" independent of how complex it is.

But back to basics. You can try to answer your questions yourself, start with some basic definitions:

What is intelligence?
What is AI, does it really exist, and is it anywhere near "human intelligence"?

If you answer these questions, you will find that AI is mainly hype, as MT has been for the last 40 years and as neural nets have been for the last 25 years.

Before a robot (AI) is able to translate, it should be able to talk to me and it should have some knowledge of the world/topics it wants to translate. Again, this is not a game and it is not about answering some structured questions, it is about "understanding" and this is something I don't see for a long time.

We still don't know how the human brain works, but AI claims that they use the same ideas - All they did up to now is building very fast calculators connected to databases. My brain is not a calculator and its database has tons of gaps. I can't play GO, I am a miserable chess player but I am still able to distinguish a wall or the side of a truck from the sky and to outperform any MT system in my language pairs.


PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:23
English to Polish
+ ...
AI Jul 12, 2016

1. You need not worry about "true" artificial intelligence of computers any time soon, if ever. Number of operations/ second ≠ intelligence.

2. LegalTransform's 2nd paragraph - totally true and depressing.

[Edited at 2016-07-12 14:16 GMT]


English to Russian
+ ...
Don't you trust that AI! Jul 12, 2016

AI is for loosers--oops!--I mean coders, because AI still doesn't do justice to the original)

Only telepathy (communicating without words) and like could give me chill. And excitement.


South Korea
Local time: 13:53
Korean to English
+ ...
Crowdsourcing platform.. Jul 13, 2016

Thanks for your opinion. I agree that once the AI can translate and do other stuffs, then humans will not need to work at all. So shouldn't worry.

But as you said, crowdsourcing platforms sounds quite depressing... what type of translators will be affected? I guess those who translate dramas or interviews, stuffs that don't really need to be accurate, will be influenced. How do you view it?


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