in All Things Localization

Future of Translation

Advances in technology are constantly changing the way we live and, when it comes to translation, this is no different. Gone are the days of flipping through an old ‘Spanish to English’ dictionary, looking up every word in a sentence, and trying to form something that vaguely resembles a translation. Now it is much more common practice to just copy & paste the sentence into your favored machine translation service and instantly receive a more accurate and efficient result. These developments will continue to drastically change the future of translation, not just due to increasing levels of technology but also, through the emergence of platforms in which bilinguals around the world can contribute freely by translating pieces of text – crowdsourcing.

For Translators

It is quite clear that the archetypal role of professional translators will be changed immensely in the coming years. The quality of machine translation output will inevitably improve and bilinguals will continue to contribute with smaller translations where they can, thus driving crowdsourcing models forward. This may result in a large percentage of today’s professional translators becoming post-editors of a combination of machine translation output and crowdsourced translations. There will be a shift of focus for professional translators and they will be increasingly engaged in more of a ‘quality control’ role. Additionally, they will be able to use their time and cultural expertise to ensure that material becomes truly locally relevant.

For Translation Clients

Naturally, as technology draws closer to being able to competently complete a translation job with the same accuracy as human translation, the human’s job becomes cheaper to acquire. Translation clients will, in turn, pay less for translations and will be able to get translations much quicker and in much larger volumes than they can currently. The quality of translations they get should improve in theory, thanks to the collective wisdom of actual end users and subject-matter experts involved in making such translations. Likewise, the material being translated will become more and more locale focused, improving the client’s overall product.

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The Future is Still Unclear

As Machine Translation continues to handle quality concerns through crowdsourcing, human translators make machine translation more and more accurate. While crowdsourcing is unlikely to ever be used for confidential or highly specialized texts such as legal documents or medical records, it is undeniably useful to companies looking to human translators and clients alike. With crowdsourcing translation and MT improving both speed and accuracy, human translators will be able to focus their attention on relevancy. Rather than just translating material they will be able to truly localize, creating strategies that will be understood and accepted by local people.