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Software Translators as a Threat to Human Translators
Technology has advanced to a great level in this 21st century. Most of the activities previously done by human efforts are now being done by machines, which are fast, reliable, convenient, and easy to use. Machine translation is one of the remarkable advancements in technology where words and phrases are converted automatically from one language to another one. Translation companies use computers to do the translation. There is special software installed in computers, which aid the process of translation. The software has got statistics and databases to analyze, break down, and create the structures in other languages again.
Machine translation performs well with the so-called formulaic language. This language involves factual snippets, which are small and ensure that the meaning is not misinterpreted. It is important to mention that unlike human translators, this software for machine translators does not have the capability of understanding context, and identifying errors in the original text.
The world has become a global village, and this means that many business organizations, through the help of technology, provided by the translation companies, try all means possible to reach foreign markets to increase their profits, which comes as a result of increasing the number of customers. This, therefore, necessitates the need for translation of adverts to the languages of the targeted customers.
Research has shown that most customers or consumers buy more when the language used to advertise is what they can read and understand, or what they know. This view is evidenced by the fact that customers who can’t read will not buy. Most customers access internet or business websites in a language they understand better. This implies that the customers will buy more of the products, which are advertised in their own language, because they will be able to read the information about products offered by a business enterprise.
Research carried by the European Commission showed that 90 percent of people in Europe access websites written in their own language when a choice is given, and therefore customers only buy goods and services from the websites, which provide information in their language.
Computer-Assisted Translation Tools and the Transition Memory
There is software designed specifically for translation, which normally uses tools commonly known as CAT tools (Computer-Assisted Translation tools). CAT tools are different from machine translators, because human beings are always involved in the whole process of translation.
Translation Memory is a special type of memory of CAT tools, which keeps the records of both the current and past translations done by linguists. These memories take phrases, which are similar or those phrases that have been repeated in a text, help translators to translate the right content, deliver a reliable document or product, and finally save time. Translations done through computers create a good deal for customers since it saves their time and also maintains the good quality of the product.
Case Study of Effectiveness of Software Translation in Europe and New York
Translation companies help business owners save money, and a good example is in Europe where businesses use them for labeling of medicine. For example, in Europe, there are small hotels called pensions, and the owners use machine translators to translate what is contained in their websites into other languages such as English among other languages spoken in the entire European Union.
New York Times recorded a case study of pharmacists who operate within the Spanish-speaking region. These pharmacists put Spanish labels on the medicine, which makes it easy for the whole Spanish speaking community to access medicine they need for the cure of disease without necessarily struggling with a language barrier. 90 percent of these pharmacies translated the medicine labels using computers, 11 percent used workers and 3 percent used interpreters who are trained professionally. Those labels translated using computers were proved to be accurate compared to the rest.
However, software translators translate words only, they cannot be able to translate the meaning of a text or phrase. This implies that machines are incapable of understanding the meaning of anything, and they, therefore, give the translation without a meaning!
Machine/software translation stands out to be very useful in time management and reliability of the products, thus earning the translation companies a good amount of money. However, translators have held hot group discussions, because they are worried of machines replacing them just like they (machines) have replaced people in many areas such as bank tellers, which have been currently replaced by ATM machines almost in every bank in the world.
The checkout scanners have also replaced bank cashiers, managers, especially those who are at the mid-level, have been replaced as well, by more sophisticated softwares, and therefore because of the factors mentioned previously, software translators are becoming a potential threat to human translators.