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Poll: Do you think that machine translation will significantly reduce the need for human translation?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 03:48
SITE STAFF
Aug 7, 2012

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you think that machine translation will significantly reduce the need for human translation?".

This poll was originally submitted by Kostas Zgafas. View the poll results »



 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:48
Member (2006)
German to English
no Aug 7, 2012

but saying that, who knows!

Based on the rubbish that I have seen and, to my despair, the rubbish I have corrected, no way. But there are always other people out there fine-tuning everything, so, in quite a few years, who knows ...


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 11:48
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No, quite the contrary! Aug 7, 2012

According to an article published on the "International Journal of Translation":

"However, the presence of automatic translation facilities on the Internet will
undoubtedly alert a much wider public to the importance of translation as a major and crucial feature of global communication, probably to a degree never before experienced. Inevitably, translation will itself receive a much higher profile than in the past. People using the crude output of MT systems will come to realise the added value (that is to say, the higher quality) of professionally produced translations. As a consequence, the demand for human produced translation will certainly rise, and the translation profession will be busier than ever. Fortunately, professional translators will have the support of a wide range of computer-based translation tools, enabling them to increase productivity and to improve consistency and quality. In brief, automation and MT will not be a threat to the livelihood of the translator, but will be the source of even greater business and will be the means of achieving considerably improved working conditions."

We will see if the author (and myself for that matter) is right...


 

Allison Wright  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 11:48
German to English
+ ...
No Aug 7, 2012

I have had a hat on standby for years just waiting to be eaten for when that day comes!

Now, put that sentence through a machine, and see what you get.icon_smile.gif

When machine translation can deal more successfully with the translation problems that I (as a human being) find difficult, I shall eat my hat (probably with a bit of chocolate sauce, following on from yesterday's poll!)

And when a machine can laugh at my jokes and make me laugh with jokes of its own, I shall be eating considerably more hats.


 

Sophie Dzhygir  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:48
Member (2007)
German to French
+ ...
Definitely yes Aug 7, 2012

I'm amazed at the number of "no-s". This must be ignorance?
Sure, machine translation will never fully eliminate the need for human translation. But reduce it, for sure! It actually already is reducing it.
And I'm not talking about "automatic translation facilities on the Internet", Teresa, and not either about "using the crude output of MT systems"...


 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 19:48
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Not in my language pair! Aug 7, 2012

Feed garbage into a machine and garbage is what it will give you.

The majority of Japanese I translate does not have subjects, it's difficult to tell what the object is, and you have to infer whether the object (once you've found it) is singular or plural. Japanese is a very oblique language. Even with technical documents, which are supposed to be clearly written, more often than not it's a lot of guesswork. icon_eek.gif
To get decent MT from Japanese, it has to be heavily pre-edited -- to the point that it doesn't read like natural Japanese -- and given a thorough once over after it has been spat out to iron out the wrinkles and make it legible. And that's for J>E.

Google translation from English to Japanese is, well, gobbledegook or Googledegook, as I call it.

Hopefully, an increased presence of MT will strengthen the awareness of the necessity for professional human translation.

Made a number of small edits. It's been a long day already. At least machines don't get knackered, I suppose.



[Edited at 2012-08-07 08:59 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-08-07 09:17 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-08-07 11:44 GMT]


 

Eddy Merx
Local time: 12:48
German to English
No way! Aug 7, 2012

A machine, no matter how sophisticated it may be, will ever be able to recognize the nuances of language and translate that into another one. You also cannot teach a machine to be culturally aware.

 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:48
Hebrew to English
Yes...The machines are coming! .....Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh! Aug 7, 2012

robotsd.jpg


BTW....I answered "No". If you'd ever seen the results of Hebrew>English>Hebrew, you'd understand why and although the technophiles keep saying "oh it's only a few years away" - the trouble is they've been saying that for years. The boy who cried wolf springs to mind.


 

Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:48
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
So what are you talking about, Sophie? Aug 7, 2012

Sophie Dzhygir wrote:

And I'm not talking about "automatic translation facilities on the Internet", Teresa, and not either about "using the crude output of MT systems"...


Is there some other form of MT that I don't know about?

In any event, my humble opinion is that MT will not be fully functional until we have invented fully cognitive artificial intelligence, which is entering the realms of Star Wars, by which time we will have almost certainly destroyed the planet through our own stupidity.

If there is any evidence MT is already making the translation industry either shrink or grow at a slower rate, I would like to see it. I very much doubt it, because the Internet revolution, the rise of very populous developing countries and globalisation must be increasing the need for the quality content which MT is unable to deliver.


 

Helen Hagon  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:48
Member (2011)
Russian to English
+ ...
Yes Aug 7, 2012

I have to agree with Sophie here. Of course, machine translation will never be able to achieve the same quality as (good) human translations. In certain fields such as literary translation, important medical or legal documents etc., the human element of the translation is essential as a machine, however sophisticated, cannot feel emotion or understand subtleties of language. However, machine translation is quick and cheap and is therefore favoured by anyone less concerned about quality. If the translation of a document is merely a formality then this is the preferred option. Anyone who has ever tried to assemble flat-pack furniture will know that!

 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
How can it possibly not reduce the need for human translation?! Aug 7, 2012

Obviously machine translation is a bit rubbish but it can only get better, and every text translated by machine is a text not translated by a human.

Of course, most human translation is also a bit rubbish and is unlikely to get better thanks partly to the likes of Trados.


 

Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:48
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
It has its place, but that doesn't mean it "reduces" the need for human translation Aug 7, 2012

Helen Hagon wrote:

However, machine translation is quick and cheap and is therefore favoured by anyone less concerned about quality. If the translation of a document is merely a formality then this is the preferred option. Anyone who has ever tried to assemble flat-pack furniture will know that!


This view doesn't take in the bigger picture. If overall the volume of the content being produced is increasing massively (as we can only assume it is due to the Internet and the booming developing world), it follows that MT cannot 'significantly reduce' the need for human translation, because while it may account for a portion of the content where quality is not important, it has no effect on the burgeoning sector where quality is important.

[Edited at 2012-08-07 09:19 GMT]


 

Gennady Lapardin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 13:48
Italian to Russian
+ ...
It's all up to translator Aug 7, 2012

If one day I will be shown the proof of perfect and all-embracing MT in some fields, this only will mean that a couple of days before I already informed myself about the next fields, which await their "translating hand".
P.S. A remark to neutralize excessive enthusiasm: Unless the machine won't be the source of the human language.

[Edited at 2012-08-07 09:43 GMT]


 

patriciacharnet  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:48
English to French
+ ...
No Aug 7, 2012

working with a tried and tested language pair English/French

the results that I've seen so far mean there will still be a fair amount of time before machine translation is on a par with human translation

as regards human translation not all human output is brilliant anyway to start with

so overall good quality translation whether human or machine is still a rare commodity at present!


 

Noni Gilbert  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:48
Spanish to English
+ ...
TMs Aug 7, 2012

The more of our translation memories that the machines eat, the more they will be able to do. And we have already seen how much more demand there is for proofreading of machine translations. Currently the vast majority of that translation is dire, but that must be changing.

But a complete takeover, no, never (hat on hold).


 
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Poll: Do you think that machine translation will significantly reduce the need for human translation?

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