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NMT and the future of translation; what do you guys think?
Thread poster: dominique roberge

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:19
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Forecasting is easy. Doing it well is extremely rare. Oct 15

Kay-Viktor Stegemann wrote:
I think the point Dan wanted to make was that predictions of all kinds have proven untenable, but this does not mean that the reasoning behind them was bad. Paul Ehrlich was a medical scientist of highest merit, but the predictions he made proved wrong anyway.

Exactly this. People may have good intentions. They may even be right about the long-term trend. One may be a supporter of their arguments. Nevertheless, none of this necessarily means that they are any more capable of accurate, reliable predictions than anybody else.

I repeat my assertion: the vast majority of people are poor at forecasting. Those with the most confidence and the least doubt usually have the poorest understanding of their own inability to make accurate predictions.

This holds for forecasting global catastrophes (see Ehrlich above), economics, political movements, and technology trends. To return to my starting point, you should not be uncritically accepting of the prediction that AI will take over huge swathes of work currently performed by humans, including translation.

Dan


Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Rachel Waddington
 

dominique roberge
Canada
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
@ DAN Oct 15

That is for sure, since I am not a top AI scientist working specifically on NMT, it is impossible for me to have a true understanding of where NMT is going.

But the more I look into it, the more I realize AI will automate a LOT of other professions before it can automate translators. For decades translation seemed to be an easy industry to automate, and yet, even with top scientists working on the issue, they still can't replicate the talent of a human translator.

My co
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That is for sure, since I am not a top AI scientist working specifically on NMT, it is impossible for me to have a true understanding of where NMT is going.

But the more I look into it, the more I realize AI will automate a LOT of other professions before it can automate translators. For decades translation seemed to be an easy industry to automate, and yet, even with top scientists working on the issue, they still can't replicate the talent of a human translator.

My comments are only to present an argument and generate a discussion on the topic.
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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:19
Member (2008)
Italian to English
No more agencies Oct 15

NMT will probably eliminate the need for middlemen/middlepeople (agencies) because clients will be able to run it themselves and do their translations in-house. That leaves the field open for the truly expert translators to establish direct working relationships with their clients via portals such as this one.

Jorge Payan
Kaspars Melkis
 

Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
End clients Oct 15

Tom in London wrote:

NMT will probably eliminate the need for middlemen/middlepeople (agencies) because clients will be able to run it themselves and do their translations in-house. That leaves the field open for the truly expert translators to establish direct working relationships with their clients via portals such as this one.


It would be all too nice to work with end clients directly, only if they accepted a 3,000 word per day for translation and 10,000 word per day for proofreading pace. As far as I know, end clients also need the text in several languages. Other than that...


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:19
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
You miss my point Oct 15

dominique roberge wrote:
But the more I look into it, the more I realize

Let me stop you there. You don't "realize". To realize is to become aware of a truth or fact. You cannot know what is truth, what is fact, and what is make-believe until we reach 2030 (or whatever date is given) and can actually see which predictions came true, and which predictions were not worth the paper on which they were written.

I'm not suggesting that this is not a subject worthy of discussion, although it has been covered many times in this forum. All I'm suggesting that people dial down the certitude, and restrain that sense of holy conviction, because it's very likely unwarranted. If we uncritically accept what we are told just because it chimes with how we already think things are, or should be, we are being no more rational than those who believe their religion holds all the answers.

In the specific case of translation, even "a top AI scientist working specifically on NMT" cannot say how a technology will prosper, or fail, when it enters real-world environments formed by the evolving interactions of millions of people and businesses. The world is a messy and uncertain place.

Dan


DZiW
Kaspars Melkis
 

Alexandra Hirsch  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 23:19
English to German
+ ...
I love these machines... Oct 15

… I really do. They make me laugh. The free versions on the web, I mean. They might get a so-called "technical" text right -- which isn't all that hard, given the fact that most consist of restricted registers -- but the meaning of simple turns of phrase tends to elude them. Take a look at this gem I posted in my blog recently:

English:
"Any type of or style of photography presents endless challenges. Whether you’re capturing people, buildings, or wildlife, there are a mi
... See more
… I really do. They make me laugh. The free versions on the web, I mean. They might get a so-called "technical" text right -- which isn't all that hard, given the fact that most consist of restricted registers -- but the meaning of simple turns of phrase tends to elude them. Take a look at this gem I posted in my blog recently:

English:
"Any type of or style of photography presents endless challenges. Whether you’re capturing people, buildings, or wildlife, there are a million different ways things can go wrong or take unexpected turns. Now, throw in working with the ever-changing sun, random weather, and unpredictable clients, and you’ve just scratched the surface of using and shooting with natural light."
German:
"Jede Art von Fotografie stellt eine endlose Herausforderung dar. Egal, ob Sie Menschen, Gebäude oder Wildtiere einfangen, es gibt eine Million verschiedene Möglichkeiten, wie Dinge schief gehen oder unerwartete Wendungen nehmen können. Jetzt können Sie mit der sich ständig ändernden Sonne, dem zufälligen Wetter und unvorhersehbaren Kunden arbeiten, und Sie haben gerade die Oberfläche der Verwendung und Aufnahme mit natürlichem Licht zerkratzt."

And that's probably less than 0.01% of the book! Plenty of post-editing work there for the taking!
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dkfmmuc  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:19
German to English
+ ...
My appreciation for the thoughtful choice of profession and long-term planning Oct 17

dominique roberge wrote:
I was looking into doing a bachelor in translation, I am not sure anymore. Some will say I have a self-defeating attitude and others will see my reasoning as perfectly logical. But I just don’t see how getting in a profession that is about to change on a fundamental level a good idea. Maybe I should embrace those changes and learn how I could improve my translation skill while learning how to leverage the power of an NMT to offer my own tailored LS to a specific industry.

Please let me know what you think. I hope I am wrong.


Dear Dominique,

I am more than 100 % sure that you will have great success in the profession and/or studies you will choose. The reason is that you are able to weigh the pros and cons of a profession or decision which will influence your life and career path.

It is also good that you haven't mentioned too much personal details. The choice is yours regardless if you are in the beginning 20's or nearly any other age.

The last years have seen a tremendous change in the competitive landscape. There are two main influencing factors which are supporting the erosion of financials of some market participants.

1.) The computerization has led to an enourmous decrease in costs both for operations and storage space. This enables a larger company to save any translation paid for a long time. And then giving the translators the tasks only for the changed parts of documents / material.

We also can't include a shelf life date or best before date in the translations.

So IMHO the translations market doesn't grow in the moment.

2.) Many people emphasize that a larger and larger part of the wealth is created in China, Asia and North America. Leaving Europe/Germany behind. Also the wealth creation on the North American continent is tremendous.

To exaggerate a bit: The market capitalization of only one of the large Internet giants is more than the market capitalization of the largest stock exchange quoted German companies (DAX30).

As a translator you may and should choose your target languages wisely.


If you like you could broadn the perspective with the goal in mind to use the passion for language and translation and additionally generate a great income flow.

Just check (if possible with a 360 degree view) as many professions where you can use your strengths and passion for language.

+ What's about teaching languages at a public school?

+ What's your impression about the ability and willingness of your neighbours and the average population to understand what happens in your own country? Do they understand all laws?

Why not starting with a degree of law and later working at an international law firm. The profession of a lawyer is nearer to translation than many people think.

Instead of translating from one language to another you translate the cryptic code of law in your language to pleadings in the same language.

+ What do you think about copywriting in your own language. The first step to that would be to observe the people using public transport and the vicinity.

Has the behavior changed to "smartphone watching". With the news articles being shorter and shorter?

Merab Dekano wrote:

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as “quality” in isolation. In other words, it’s not about quality of the output. It’s all about the expectations of the user of that output.

In Spain, most (if not all) the newspapers publish articles that are, to say the least, very much improvable in terms of style and grammar. However, an average Spanish reader seems to care very little indeed.

This sets a “new standard”, a poor one in absolute terms that seems to be normal given the real situation.

It’s not about what it is; it’s all about who uses it.


These are only some examples where you can use analytic and language skills for a career path.

The main advantage is that at least some of these markets are not stagnating.

Hope this helps.

@ASKER: If you like you can send me your E-Mail address and I will send you some additional infos (from a German view - would have to be localized for your country).

Keeping my fingers crossed.

Best regards


 
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