Robots have taken over the world, but not the way we think. It’s all in the data. Translation and technology both have their background in mathematics, but what technology lacks, humans make up for in abundance. So, while AI translation is definitely useful for certain situations, it should only ever be used as a way to complement and not replace a human translator.
Artificial Intelligence vs Human Translators
Is it terrible, or isn’t it? A French person would know but a machine wouldn’t.
In French there’s an expression where someone says “c’est pas terrible” which literally means “it isn’t terrible” but when it is said it is implied that it isn’t great either. Nuances like this are hard program into a computer. Things like metaphor and sarcasm are so inherently human, AI cannot replicate it. There are also political references that change with the time. How would an AI translate the cultural references in film or commercials? While AI should absolutely be used to initially translate a text, it should never be the only medium the text goes through. Human translation, editing, and proofing will give the text life and relatability. How would someone translate the “What are those?” cultural reference from Black Panther into Korean, for example? A machine would never know.
Artificial Intelligence Lacks the Perspective of a Human Translator
If a machine doesn’t know when to challenge a perspective, how will it know rules are meant to be broken?
While we can teach a machine to constantly collect data and improve, the information will always be based on things it already knows. There are exceptions to rules that are sometimes created on the spot or new vocabulary that happens and a machine would not know when rules can be broken or why. It cannot make a creative decision because it does not have original thought. Translating involves challenging the meaning and analyzing ways to say things which sometimes might involve a completely new way. If the machine cannot challenge and analyze language to the current culture and atmosphere, it cannot translate the art of the meaning.