Off topic: Will machine translation affect language?
Thread poster: Marinus Vesseur

Marinus Vesseur  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:43
English to Dutch
+ ...
Dec 8, 2011

This is more of a philosophical question. MT is now well-established, many of us are using it, with or without CAT tool, and it appears to have its advantages. Also, apparently it hasn't become the destroyer of our profession that I once thought it would become (although that could perhaps still happen).

So, with its prolific use, will there come a point when MT will start influencing language, do you think?

I was thinking about it when translating a boring techical manual with the help of MemoQ and Google Translate. I keep peeking to the side to see what GT suggests and notice myself using certain expressions that I find particularly fitting, but those are not the expressions I would generally use. If I keep doing this, and I probably will, my 'style' will gradually change to include more expressions that GT has gleaned from the Internet and some expressions that I used before will be dropped. Somewhere along the line some of my work will end up on the Internet, possibly becoming the source material for Google to glean from, at which point the circle is complete with those 'preferred' expression having been confirmed by my use of them.

Any individual's work will have as good as no impact, of course, but I can't help wondering, what with the increasing use of MT everywhere, what changes to our use of written language MT will bring about, seeing as there is some form of recycling involved. Will certain expressions become obsolete because machine translation applications don't 'like' them? Or is the opposite true and is MT creating a static image of the language that will prevent new expressions from entering into written language? Will it add to the richness of written and used vocabulary or will it take away from it?

Your replies are appreciated.

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Will machine translation affect language?

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