‘Robots will take over the world.’ Whilst this is an extremely overused phrase in science-fiction films, it’s certainly not far from the truth. In recent years, technological advances have put thousands of jobs in danger, and they will continue to do so in the future Without a doubt, one of the most hotly debated topics is how this will affect professional translators. Will translators be replaced by robots in the future?
The answer is no. There’s no cause for concern. Artificial intelligence will certainly only help the work of professional translator, in fact, the website ‘Will robots take my job?’ estimates that 38% of translation processes will be automated, but under no circumstances will professional translators be demoted. And you know why? Because artificial intelligence is exactly that; artificial, it lacks logic, without which it’s impossible to reason in the same way human does, however well it’s programmed.
Translating metaphors and Idioms
The worst translation mistakes in history have been caused by machines. Do you think this will improve in the future? Professional translators bring more credibility to messages, as they can transmit both the implicit and explicit, as well as metaphoric and idiomatic texts, something that is currently unthinkable in automatic translation. In addition, we must always remember that language and popular wisdom is in constant evolution, and machines will always have great difficulty in adapting to such changes.
On the other hand, a professional translator is a linguistic scholar and will always be able to adapt the message from one language into another, without losing its meaning.
By now you must be asking how artificial intelligence can help professional translators, considering the above-mentioned simulator (‘Will robots take my job?). Professional translators sometimes resort to online dictionaries to better understand the meaning of certain terms and possibly, explore synonyms to perfect the project that they’re currently working on. Automatic translators can also be useful tools from time to time, as they can sometimes suggest synonyms for words that were looking for. But that’s about it, useful tools.
Nevertheless, artificial intelligence is devoid of culture and the context behind the message. Transmitting a language is synonymous with transmitting its culture, so that it is more clearly understood. How is culture learned? Through experience. Something that cannot be left in the hands of artificial intelligence. Long live professional translators!