Unprecedented Advancements in Machine Translation:

Technological advancements allow people to seamlessly connect with others regardless of their location in the world. Despite this modern time of connectivity, language barriers still prevent communication from occurring in many aspects of life. Language service providers now more than ever are heavily relied on to facilitate communication in healthcare, legal and governmental settings. Language services such as translation, on-site interpretation, over-the-phone interpretation (OPI) and video remote interpreting (VRI) are used to ensure important information is accurately and efficiently conveyed as well as understood. Professional language service providers pair your project with a translator or interpreter who has the most relevant experience in order to supply you with the best outcome for your language service needs. Translators and interpreters are highly trained professionals who are able to bridge language gaps even in the most difficult of times. Linguists are in high demand so the development of machine translation software has skyrocketed in attempts to offer a fast solution to a growing problem.

Users can quickly type what they want translated into an app or speak directly into a machine interpretation device and have their words converted into the language of their choosing. The technology is tremendous and continues to make strides in creating and developing a tool that will greatly benefit, change and aid the language service industry in efforts to combat language barriers. Despite the massive improvements recently made in machine translation, it has proven time and again, it can not be trusted to produce clean and accurate translations. There has to be a clear cut measure of success or ability to be proven right or wrong for a machine to handle a task. Language has so many ambiguities, nuances and directions it can take that there is no clear cut right or wrong which leaves machines unable to handle the complicated task. Michael Housman, chief data science officer at RapportBoost.AI and faculty member of Singularity University stated, “To Google’s credit, they made a pretty massive improvement that appeared almost overnight. You know, I don’t use it as much. I will say this. Language is hard.” Housman also said, “Two translators won’t even agree on whether it was translated properly or not,” “Language is kind of the wild west, in terms of data.”

Opinions on Machine Translation from the Field:

Jorge Majfud, Associate Professor of Spanish, Latin American Literature, and International Studies at Jacksonville University stated, “The problem is that considering the ‘entire’ sentence is still not enough. The same way the meaning of a word depends on the rest of the sentence (more in English than in Spanish), the meaning of a sentence depends on the rest of the paragraph and the rest of the text, as the meaning of a text depends on a larger context called culture, speaker intentions, etc.” “Months ago, I went to buy a drill at Home Depot and I read a sign under a machine: ‘Saw machine.’ Right below it, the Spanish translation: ‘La máquina vió,’ which means, ‘The machine did see it.’ Saw, not as a noun but as a verb in the preterite form,” he explained. Dr. Majfud warned, “We should be aware of the fragility of their ‘interpretation.’ Because to translate is basically to interpret, not just an idea but a feeling. Human feelings and ideas that only humans can understand—and sometimes not even we, humans, understand other humans.”

Machine Translation Lacks Self Awareness:

Artificial intelligence based translating technology is getting better day by day, however it has a long way to go in order to be compared to the accuracy and understanding that human translators and interpreters provide. Machine translations tend to exhibit poor grammar and word choices which can convolute the intended meaning. The biggest downfall despite the inaccuracy is, machine translation can only translate word for word. This means there is no regard for feelings, displays of emotion, context, or links that add underlying meaning and substance to content and communication. Machine translation lacks self awareness and insight, therefore the translations will never be as accurate as that of human translations. This inability to fully grasp and comprehend the essence of a conversation is the reason why machine translation will never replace human translation.

Niki’s Int’l Ltd. is a WBENC-Certified Women Business Enterprise with 20 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

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