Machine Translation and Interpretation Software:
In April of 2006, Google took the world by storm when they launched Google Translate, a machine translation software that now serves over 500 million users and translates more than 100 billion words per day. The popularity of machine translators has skyrocketed, there are even pocket translators that allow you to speak into them and they will provide you with a “close too” equivalent of what you said in the language of your choice. Machine translation has open the doors for machine interpretation to be created. Machine translation, translates written text and machine interpretation, interprets spoken word. Machine interpretation software converts speech into text, translates the text into another language and then reads the text back to the user. Artificial intelligence based translating technology is getting better day by day, however despite the rapid increase in accuracy produced by the software, the conversion always seems to be in question once produced. No matter how advanced technology becomes, the software will never replace the true necessity of having an actual human interpreter present or virtually present for important interactions. There is a lot of scrutiny over the comparison of human translation and machine translation, but when stacked up against one another, humans significantly outshine the machines.
Machine Interpreting is Problematic and Won’t Affect Professional Interpreting Services Provided by Human Interpreters:
There are many issues with the new technology, first of all it uses voice recognition software which is finicky in itself. Heavy accents, different dialects, mispronunciations, loud background noise, and poor connections all can negatively impact what the software hears and picks up. Once the words are collected by the voice recognition software, the data is converted into a text file which combs through and references a database of human translated material in order to convert the text. Databases are limited to what humans puts in them and the software is capturing what you say, not how you say it. Think about the question, “What are you doing?” that question can be asked in many ways, displaying very different emotions. Machine translation software will never be able to effectively understand emotions, feelings and nuances of a language in order to produce a well rounded interpretation. Machine interpretation software works only in a consecutive interpreting mode. This style of interpretation takes a long time to complete and is often substituted for simultaneous interpretation which is more efficient on time. The technology is prone to errors both large and small and one major indicator that it should not be used for important purposes is that Google doesn’t use Google Translate for it’s own business. Professional interpretation services are not at risk to be be taken over or interrupted by machine interpretation software, there is really no comparison between the two services, however there is a time and a place in which the technology can best be utilized.
Where is Machine Translation and Interpreting Best Used:
Machine interpretation and translation are amazing tools for the right situation, it gets the gist of what’s going on, therefore the user can get a general understanding of the conversation at hand. This technology is wonderful for travelers needing to speak to locals in order to find out directions, places to go or simply to have a general conversation. The feature that allows you to point your smartphone camera at a sign or menu and a machine translation application can convert the text into the language you speak and understand is really beneficial and can prevent you from ordering fried fish eyeballs or snake skin stew. The US Army has developed a program called the Machine Foreign Language Translation System (MFLTS project) which aims to provide deployed soldiers with machine translations via speech and text to better aid them while out in the field. The software is successfully helping soldiers communicate and operate effectively with non-English speaking individuals. For soldiers understanding and communicating can be a matter of life and death, and there isn’t an interpreter that is going to be available to meet in the trenches of war, so machine translators really are beneficial in this regard. Although machine translation and interpretation software will never compare to actual human translators and interpreters there is a time and place for the technological advancement to be used. Machine translation and interpretation software is advancing as we speak and is truly mending a language gap that begs to be bridged.
Niki’s Int’l Ltd. is a WBENC-Certified Women Business Enterprise with 21 years of language service experience. A global network of highly skilled interpreters and translators are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for on-site, telephonic and video remote interpretation services. Our linguists are available in over 350 languages and dialects, and our network includes certified interpreters and translators. Our work is guaranteed with a $1 Million Errors & Omissions policy, so that you can be confident that your project will be completed with the highest level of quality and professionalism within the field. For more information contact us at 1-877-567-8449 or visit our website at www.nilservices.com.