Will it matter if we speak different languages in the future?

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Gennady Lapardin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 03:24
Italian to Russian
+ ...
For reference Jul 25, 2012


Mandarin, total speakers 1.025 bln, followed by 0.3 bln Spanish speakers against 0.2 bln GT monthly users. All levels English speakers are estimated at 1.5 bln.

[Edited at 2012-07-25 07:59 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-07-25 13:49 GMT]


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:24
Spanish to English
+ ...
The only snag Jul 25, 2012

... is that English is spoken and understood by a wider variety of peoples than Mandarin.

Vive la difference!


Phil Hand  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:24
Chinese to English
AI people are stupid Jul 25, 2012

Sorry, but it's true.

If a machine ever gets smart enough to translate well, it'll be as clever as (and as messed up as) a human. So talking through the machine won't feel like typing into a dumb laptop. It'll feel like talking through an interpreter, with all the issues and possible miscues and awkwardness that human interpreters bring to the table. In other words, it'll be just like things are now.

AI people really haven't thought the usability issues through at all. Every article I see from them completely misses the point of how humans interact. It's weird, because they're supposed to do this for a living. For a long time I thought it must me me that's missing something, but I'm now fairly sure it's not.


B D Finch  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:24
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
A marketing-man, corporate-profits-driven, silly article Jul 25, 2012

Yes, I suppose we should be aware of this depressingly ill-educated hype for Microsoft et al.

Of course, the marketers of translation software have an interest in proclaiming that learning foreign languages will become unnecessary: they want dependent and uncritical customers who are unaware of the shortcomings of the products they have bought.

Note that they would turn for evidence to the commercial Rosetta Stone, rather than to public education provision, for evidence of the lack of interest in language learning. There was a feature on yesterday's French TV news about French schoolchildren's poor results in English compared to Scandinavian schoolchildren. (The feature did go on to note that French schoolchildren's results in Spanish were much better, so English is not the only yardstick.) While I am pleased to see that there is concern about this and a wish to improve, I am also aware of noticing an enormous improvement in the general knowledge of and interest in using English among ordinary French people over the last twenty or thirty years. Twenty years ago, the usual French response to somebody speaking English seemed to be a pretence of not understanding by those who did understand; now even an English accent in French is frequently met by an insistence on speaking in English. On the other hand, there is considerable evidence about lack of interest in language learning in Anglo-Saxon countries and falling take-up, but this trend pre-dates Google Translate. Clearly language learning trends and reasons for them are more complex than this silly article pretends.

Examples of silly statements:
"Not only does that mean everyone will be able to speak their natural tongue, learning another language will be purely out of interest or linguistic study, not a degree requirement for students or mandatory continuing education for international business people." No. International business people who speak their suppliers' and customers' languages will have the advantage of being able to judge the accuracy and quality of their communication for themselves, rather than relying upon a "black box" intermediary. They will also find that relationships with those suppliers and customers are much improved.

" ... to be truly bilingual almost always involves immersion" The writer clearly has only the foggiest of ideas of what bilingualism is.

" ... you don’t need to recall from language class the history of the Spanish Empire, what the components of paella are, or the popularity of Flamenco dancing when you are in Tijuana and just need to find a restroom among the seedy night clubs" Well, no wonder if the writer wet their pants!


liz askew  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:24
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
I don't believe it! Jul 25, 2012

It will be as important as ever that we speak different languages in the future.

As for Google offering decent translation services, I have never heard the like, what a lot of nonsense. Just try translating a foreign language medical text using google translate, what a mess!



Gennady Lapardin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 03:24
Italian to Russian
+ ...
Do you think cooking would be better? :) Jul 25, 2012

liz askew wrote:

Just try translating a foreign language medical text using google translate, what a mess!


[Edited at 2012-07-25 22:16 GMT]


LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:24
Russian to English
+ ...
Machines will never be able to translate well Jul 25, 2012

The rest of the article is as silly and simplistic as the belief that machines will be able to replace translators in the future. When pigs will fly.


United Kingdom
Local time: 00:24
Ukrainian to English
+ ...
Waste of time... Jul 27, 2012

Why do we bother commenting on second-rate journalism such as this? The "article" is laughable.


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