At the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Google chief executive Eric Schmidt demonstrated a new prototype of his firm’s visual search application, Google Goggles, which works with MT technology.

Prof. Andy Way, of  Dublin City University, is working on smarter ways to translate using the data-driven approach, and merging MT with the translation memory software that many translators now use to improve translation quality and output. “In sum, there’s no reason to be fearful of Google,” says Way. “Human translators will soon have to use MT, as there’s a huge bottleneck in the amount of translation that needs doing, but we don’t have enough human translators to satisfy this demand. The economic situation that we all find ourselves in is also putting on huge pressure to cut translation costs.”

DCU’s School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies is launching a postgraduate MSc in translation technology. But senior lecturer Dr Dorothy Kenny worries that attention given to developments in MT may put off many language students wishing to become translators. “If there is a perception out there that machines can translate adequately, the danger is that people will think there is no point in humans learning how to translate,” she says. “This would be very serious for the industry given that there is already a shortage of well-qualified translators in certain markets, despite the fact that pay and conditions are good.”

See: The Irish Times