As The Joker says: why so serious?
Thread poster: Mario Chavez

Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:53
English to Spanish
+ ...
Dec 7

Not a day passes without some AI- or MT- grandiloquent pronouncement these days. In blogs, articles written by translators, tweets and images posted online, there's this worry, this concern about what artificial intelligence, the pompously called “singularity” and the voodoo doll we all love to hate, machine translation, could do to our profession.

But are these worries warranted?

Has a client disappeared, a job evaporated for a translator because of AI or MT? Do we have facts about it? Numbers? Statistics? Or just kitchen talk about it?

It is one thing to be resourceful and protect ourselves from outside risks. To isolate ourselves in complacency is another. But AI or MT aren't some industrial tsunami doing away with a whole sector of the economy, unlike Internet connectivity did with those highly expensive phone calls and cellphones did to thousands of phone booths in cities large and small. The telephone operator has been gone for decades now. Can her position be comparable to that of a translator, or an interpreter?

So, why so serious? Why spending so much energy worrying about AI and MT?


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Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:53
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
A.I. will transform the economy, but how much and how soon? Dec 7

Maybe more and sooner than we think.


https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/30/technology/ai-will-transform-the-economy-but-how-much-and-how-soon.html






[Edited at 2017-12-07 20:34 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:53
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
The click Dec 8

I think that people tend to focus their worries on a "click-moment", i.e. when we support that our country piles up thousands of nuclear warheads but fear the instant in which a country that stockpiles such weapons has an accident that triggers doom for mankind. We tend to allow risk to grow up to an arbitrary value we feel unsafe, and spend our lifes worrying that our risk passes that mark some day, instead of trying to reduce risk altogether.

In AI and MT, our click moment is that imagined magical, instantaneous, accidental technology breakthrough in AI and MT that will suddenly turn machines into "people" and make us all redundant, as these "people" will be smart and will work 24 hours a day as long as the power bill is paid. In the meantime, as happened with nuclear holocaust, some pray to God that nothing happens and some others build shelters. I think I am more on the shelter side: while I have not had the time yet to learn more about the technology and how to benefit from it, I intend to do it and thus mitigate the risk of being left with my suitcase in the middle of nowhere.

[Edited at 2017-12-08 06:59 GMT]


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Jan Truper
Germany
Local time: 22:53
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
I am a unicorn Dec 8

This is 6 years old, but still funny:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/howaboutthat/8752014/Robots-argue-about-God-during-first-conversation.html


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Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:53
German to English
I've been asked for an offer to edit what clearly seemed to be MT results before. Dec 8

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT wrote:

In the meantime, as happened with nuclear holocaust, some pray to God that nothing happens and some others build shelters. I think I am more on the shelter side ...


But, if there is a nuclear holocaust, does it really matter if you spent your time scoffing or praying or building a shelter? If someone from Guam or North Korea (or Pakistan, India, Israel or Iran) buys a second home in a safer location, I understand that, but if AI really happens or there really is a massive nuclear war involving more than one major nuclear power, there's no way to prepare for it anyway.

To move away from the metaphor: I'm interested in things like Lilt or Lift or whatever it's called (MT based on my own glossaries and TMs) and I'd be interested in investing in pre-edited machine translation based on controlled language (= a form of MT that has nothing to do with AI and is actually based on Artificial Stupidity, i.e., making language usage more like playing chess), but I'm not interested enough in either of them to actually act on my vague, theoretical interest.


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Katalin Szilárd  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 22:53
Member (2006)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
I vote for quality human translation Dec 8

I'm not interested in MT, or MT post-editing, MT post-proofreading or AI related translations or any other such things.

What interests me: individual emails with real, concrete medium/big projects from quality clients, either quality translation agencies or quality end clients, who insist on accurate, quality human translations and pay decent rates.

This site suppose to offer this (as it used to). We will see what the future brings...

[Edited at 2017-12-08 16:46 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:53
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Of course Dec 10

Katalin Szilárd wrote:
What interests me: individual emails with real, concrete medium/big projects from quality clients, either quality translation agencies or quality end clients, who insist on accurate, quality human translations and pay decent rates.

Yes, of course that is what we all professional translators want and promote. However, knowing about MT is more a know-your-enemy situation than anything else. We should definitely know the enemy, its limitations, and why it is used by some agencies and end customers. This knowledge helps us in selling quality work.


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Katalin Szilárd  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 22:53
Member (2006)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Why is it used? Dec 10

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT wrote:

Katalin Szilárd wrote:
What interests me: individual emails with real, concrete medium/big projects from quality clients, either quality translation agencies or quality end clients, who insist on accurate, quality human translations and pay decent rates.

Yes, of course that is what we all professional translators want and promote. However, knowing about MT is more a know-your-enemy situation than anything else. We should definitely know the enemy, its limitations, and why it is used by some agencies and end customers. This knowledge helps us in selling quality work.


It is easy to answer why it is used: many agencies want 1) profit (a lot of money) and they want it 2) now asap. They don't care about the future. Because translation is only just a money-making business for them. Maybe in 2-3 years from now the same company's profile will be clothing. They don't care: all they want is money. The same is true for many translators: many translators are in this business because 1) they were not good enough in their previous profession 2) they became jobless etc. ... whether they are/will be good in translation doesn't matter for them. They accept many jobs for very cheap rates. What matters for them is money. These people will use MT in that way that is very harmful, because they don't care what they will do in a year, right now they have money and this is all what matters for them.


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