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Will technology replace humans in the translation industry?

In this blog, Wolfestone Group analyze the different ways in which AI, AR and human technology are used in the language service industry

Translation agencies, like Wolfestone Group, have relied on human translators for many years. But technology is advancing quickly, and many industries including translation/localization are beginning to implement new methods into everyday processes. These include Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR). An example of AI would be manufacturing robots in a business's factory. Whereas AR technology would be used through phone apps, companies like IKEA have created apps that allow customers to view large household items in space before a purchase has been made.

Business owners and marketers understand the importance of staying up to date with the latest technology, especially if it has the potential to disrupt human involvement in the future. So, knowing how this can impact your company is key. In this blog, we will be analyzing the advancements in AI and AR technology and, more specifically, comparing their use to human translators in the translation industry.

Let’s first cement our understanding of the difference between AI and AR technology.

The difference between AI and AR technology

The difference between AI and AR technology can be seen in how they are used by businesses. Generally speaking, AI technology can read the text on websites and process that data, analyzing large sets of information to recognize trends and patterns. In the 21st century, industries including finance, healthcare, languages, and transport have begun to adopt more AI tools to enhance how they do business.

AI technology

Whereas AR technology has introduced a digital experience that can be conducted in the real world. For example, interior design companies will use AR technology to show clients how furniture will look and fit in a room while physically in the space. Some other industries that use this technology are real estate agencies, retail manufacturing, and social media platforms such as Snapchat.

AR technology

How is AI used in translation?

AI technology is being used for translation purposes and is used by agencies in the language industry. So how does this process work?

  1. The document that needs translating is an imported AI system used by translation agencies.
  2. The system will read the document to spot words and phrases that are repeated throughout these will be translated first
  3. The AI system will continue to read and translate the rest of the document. Once this process is complete, the original document will be fully translated into the desired language.

However, as smart as this sounds, this system has both positives and negatives. The positives include speed, as AI can translate documents faster than a human translator. The cost to use AI translation is also a cheaper method to use for both clients and agencies.

A negative? AI translation does not consider localization. This means it directly translates the document without consideration for context. The document will be translated based on the repetition and consistency of the written piece. No consideration will be made for the tone of voice or final reading ability.

Therefore, all work processed through the AI system must be checked and re-written by a human translator. Having this type of translation requires a human to understand the focus point of the piece and ensure it is as interesting as originally written. Without a human translator, the AI-generated content would be bland, which can negatively impact a brand’s personality.

Introduction of Google Glasses in the language service industry

The language industry is important in supporting businesses with global expansion, by having the ability to keep all branding, messages, and tone of voice the same no matter where the company is promoting a new product or service. To ensure this is done professionally, companies that want to enter international markets will use translation agencies. These agencies will often offer two types of translation including AI technology, and human translation. However, companies like Google are using AR technology to offer a new, unique, translation solution.

Google is planning to disrupt the translation industry, by combining AI and AR technology in the advancement of Google Translation Glasses. The announcement of these glasses was made in early May 2022, with the aim of improving inclusivity by introducing live-time captioning in day-to-day conversations. So, how do these glasses work?

Well, the person wearing the glasses can talk to anyone who speaks English, Mandarin, Spanish, and American Sign Language. These languages will be translated via AI and appear as subtitles on the lens (AR) to create a seamless, international communication between two people.

Google Translate Glasses Blog Picture

Currently, these glasses can only translate three languages and American Sign Language. This is not great for businesses wanting to converse with colleagues, clients, and prospects that speak other languages. Even though improvements have been made in technology, they are unable to compete with large agencies specializing in language translation and interpretation. This being said, the Google glasses will translate quickly and in real-time. Taking away the time will decrease the time it takes for a translation agency

It would be ok to admit that these glasses will decrease the time required for a translation requirement when compared to an agency. Not only are the glasses using AI, but they are also live, real-time products available direct to you, the consumers.

Which translation technique is best for you?

There are many positives and negatives to using machine translators. They are incredibly fast and efficient, but often produce translations that are not completely accurate. Therefore, human translation will always be needed in this industry. Translation sectors like Wolfestone Group offer a unique combination of human and AI translation services.

The translation industry is changing and evolving with the digital age. However, one constant remains. Human translators are needed to ensure quality translations accurately reflect the source material. If you need a high-quality, accurate translation for your business, get in touch with the experts at Wolfestone Group.

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