Now, let’s face. In about one century (early 22nd Century), our profession will probably be obsolete (shudder 🙂. It will all start with scientific translations (the more “scientific” a text, the easier it is for a machine to translate). But one thing is for sure: literary translation, especially poetry, will be a hard nut to crack for machines (the more “cultural” a text, the more difficult it is for a machine to translate).
So, fast forward to 2107 – the only translators left are literary translators… unless, of course everybody speaks the same language.
Now, be courageous, friend, and read this article in: DefenseNews.com
A few highlights:
DARPA (The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) says all (the five specific translation devices it is testing) perform in the 70 percent to 80 percent accuracy range.
In the short term — the next three to five years, she said — DARPA wants 80 percent to 90 percent accuracy (much better than Google translation software’s 60%) for specific task-related phrases (This of course is far from a 10,000 word-document, even when you use TM!).
“We are optimistic that in the near future, we will be able to deliver a device that will be able to translate successfully 80 to 90 percent of the time when speakers articulate carefully and stick to specific subject areas during the conversation,” said Mari Maeda, program manager for DARPA’s Translation Systems for Tactical Use program.
The long-term goal, said DARPA spokeswoman Jan Walker, is two-way translations across all subjects with 100 percent accuracy, with background noise, dialects and accents taken into account. (How LONG-term will that be? Well, I’ll believe it when I see it 🙂
At least this will go a long way towards reducing translator/interpreter casualties. (See “Decimation” post) Or maybe by the time they get to 100%, there will be Universal Peace, no more wars, and all that …
As a friend of mine likes to say: “Even if we all spoke the same language, there would still be a necessity for translators and interpreters, because some people would find a way to speak that common language differently”.
To which I will add: “And they will make their own version of that common language so complicated that no machine will be able to translate it”
So, don’t worry, dear friend and colleague, we’re still around, for some time yet!
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