Translators and Google Translate.
Thread poster: DLyons

DLyons  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 09:45
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jan 31, 2015

"Il faut être absolument moderne" Arthur Rimbaud, Une Saison en enfer. Paul, in Milan Kundera's Immortality (New York 1992, p141), thinks "This was the new definition: to be absolutely modern means to be the ally of one's gravediggers". And he ruminates "What was to be done? Nothing. Anyhow, why shouldn't a person be the ally of his gravediggers?".

The Impact of technology on labor in five industries: printing and publishing..., U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1982
https://books.google.ie/books?id=AUnEsuG7rT8C&pg=PA1


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:45
Spanish to English
+ ...
TL, DR Feb 1, 2015

Nevertheless, I find GT a handy and amusing tool tool now that Systran has gone to pot...

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paula13  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 05:45
Member (2005)
So many things wrong with GT... Feb 1, 2015

In addition to all the theoretical and ethical questions surrounding GT, there are, at least, three huge legal considerations translators need to keep in mind before submitting anything to Google Translate:

1) Confidentiality: use of GT can constitute a serious breach on behalf of translators.
2) Intellectual Property: there's one particularly dangerous paragraph in GT's service agreement.
3) Informed consent: clients need to authorize and understand the implications of hiring a translator that uses GT.

These are three very serious issues, and I'm not sure many translators fully understand the implications of GT.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 10:45
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
What is your point? Feb 1, 2015

DLyons wrote:
Translators and Google Translate -- This was the new definition: to be absolutely modern means to be the ally of one's gravediggers. ... What was to be done? Nothing. Anyhow, why shouldn't a person be the ally of his gravediggers?


What is your point?


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:45
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Rimbaud Feb 1, 2015

Rimbaud was all too familiar with the unhappinesses of modernity.

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DLyons  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 09:45
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Dying profession Feb 1, 2015

Samuel Murray wrote:

DLyons wrote:
Translators and Google Translate -- This was the new definition: to be absolutely modern means to be the ally of one's gravediggers. ... What was to be done? Nothing. Anyhow, why shouldn't a person be the ally of his gravediggers?


What is your point?


Using GT (and especially improving GT) digs a grave for translators. But it's inevitable - just as typesetters and similar guilds had to adapt, so do translators. And sooner than most seem to realize.

There will be a limited niche for high-end medical, legal and similar translations in the medium term where the translator carries insurance and can be sued.


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DLyons  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 09:45
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
More money in gun running than in poetry Feb 1, 2015

Tom in London wrote:

Rimbaud was all too familiar with the unhappinesses of modernity.


But yes, an unenviable death.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 10:45
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Only five industries... Feb 1, 2015

That book only describes events in five industries. Lots more have gone from strength to strength with the help of technology. Building has come a way since mud huts and log cabins... just to start with.

Translation is a profession, a craft - and not really suited to industrial methods.

And yet. I've seen my father translating with a pen, by candlelight when the electric power failed, with better references than St. Jerome, but basically in exactly the same way.

I use a CAT myself, and have tried MT that is far better than Google Translate.
Pre-editing makes a big difference. All the same, I expect younger generations will be translating their couple of thousand words a day for a long time yet. GT can't compete, and the human mind and its languages are far more complicated than robots. At some point people will realise they are being sidetracked.

We have to educate them about what computers can and cannot do, but we have to find out ourselves first.

Embrace the technology, use it and move with it!
________________________________________________________________

I am working on an interesting text right now about glass - as a craft and industry, which is not quite as ancient as translation, but also goes back a long way.

Glass has developed from amazingly ancient craftsmanship - tracing its roots right back to the third millennium BCE. Some of the beads and items found are technically brilliant craftsmanship, even seen with modern eyes. Glassmakers in India still work (just) as they did hundreds of years ago. Then there have been many traditions: Venetian and Bohemian glass; every country in Europe has made glass.

Industry transformed it. Master craftsmen are no longer needed to make window glass and lenses, bottles and jars. Thousands of new applications have been developed, which would be impossible for humans to make, or where machines are better anyway.

Somewhere between me and you, the words I am typing are carried on fibreglass through the Internet...

It has freed the craftsmen for the kind of work they are really good at - there are still thousands of them round the world, and there is still a market for hand-crafted glass, not only as fine art, but for practical and utilitarian purposes.

Some glassmakers are still working with pipes like their colleagues in Roman times. (Some technically brilliant pieces of glass still survive from all ages.)
Others are experimenting with the very latest 21st century technology - 3D printing among other things.
_________________________________________


Most of this is not in my current text, which is 'only' about Danish glass in the last 40 years or so. Quite a chapter, nevertheless!
It's one of my passions. It is also one of the writer's passions, and it takes real human understanding to translate. Luckily I can refer to earlier work by other translators and writers who originally wrote in English, and apart from a tight deadline, I'm enjoying it.

I'm optimistic about translation too.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:45
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Completely disagree Feb 1, 2015

DLyons wrote:
Using GT (and especially improving GT) digs a grave for translators. But it's inevitable - just as typesetters and similar guilds had to adapt, so do translators. And sooner than most seem to realize.

I have read very similar statements for almost 20 years, and yet, translation seems to be in a very healthy shape and seemingly has a bright future ahead.

Google Translate and similar tools are such wonderful advertising for us professional translators! Any serious customer who needs something translated for an important reason (be it economic or academic) will always hire a professional translator, especially when the customer is an informed person who has experimented a bit with Google Translate and has seen the results.

I doubt professional translators enjoy translating sentences like "To open a file, click File - Open." all life long. I did translate that kind of stuff a long time ago, and am very happy machine translation is taking care of it already. Quite boring! What should be our market is the tricky translations, those that require linguistic skills, encyclopaedic knowledge, and bi-culturalism. Striving to obtain these skills and that kind of expertise will keep professional translation in a pretty good shape for many years.


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Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Will survive Feb 1, 2015

The current "state of the art" of GT technology is such that editing GT-translated text takes more time than translating from scratch. Therefore, I see no point in anybody using it in a professional setup.

While it is "humans" who make machines, and not the other way round, GT will remain an amateur yet "improving" terminology database; an "instant help" available to less experienced and lazy "translators".

The only possibility GT conquers the hearts of the industry's stakeholders is if customers are "educated" into accepting (gradually) declining quality of translated texts.

I see no way GT can ever handle literature, poetry or even marketing. Running legal texts through the thing is, and will remain, too dangerous.

Imagine an employee of a reputable editorial clicks on a button called "Google Author" and fills out a form, indicating: "sentimental 71%, language beauty 25%, morality 3%". The website displays an error message: "please, indicate the remainder of the 1%". The employee does so and "Google Author" produces a novel that becomes best seller.

It will not happen.


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Sophie Thereau
France
Local time: 10:45
English to French
A suggestion Feb 2, 2015

I suggest replacing St Jerome by Darwin and Taylor as our patron saints.

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Sophie Thereau
France
Local time: 10:45
English to French
Details please Feb 2, 2015

paula13 wrote:

In addition to all the theoretical and ethical questions surrounding GT, there are, at least, three huge legal considerations translators need to keep in mind before submitting anything to Google Translate:

1) Confidentiality: use of GT can constitute a serious breach on behalf of translators.
2) Intellectual Property: there's one particularly dangerous paragraph in GT's service agreement.
3) Informed consent: clients need to authorize and understand the implications of hiring a translator that uses GT.

These are three very serious issues, and I'm not sure many translators fully understand the implications of GT.



Paula, could you be more specific, please? I'm having a hard time trying to educate fellow French translators about that.

Many thanks

Sophie


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