A human translator could probably have told you that your appetizer is a goat cheese. Fortunately, Google itself admits that their free tool is not replaceable by human translators. Well as a tourist this is not really a disaster, you might already be happy if you can make yourself understood or understand what is being communicated. But when it comes to subjects where the stakes are higher, such as in Business Support, Finance or Logistics, Google Translate is not sufficient for that level.
Nevertheless, professionals still use computer-assisted translation tools (CAT). In this regard, one of the most popular tools is the translation earpiece. Often by using an app on your phone, they translate foreign languages for you. Super handy during a meeting with people who speak a foreign language, such as the difficult Dutch language.
Of course, this did take decades of research to recognize and articulate speech in the same way that the human brain works. But even this new generation of technology, which combines neural networks of speech recognition and Internet-based translation engines, has limitations. It takes a while to get your translation, and the computers still lack the subtlety of human communication.
To really establish a relationship and have a good conversation, we suspect you will always need a human translator to make it sound natural and capture the sentiment. BBC thinks that within 10 years that problem may be solved. Sentiment analysis will be needed regarding the expression of emotions and intonations. We at Exactpi believe that technology will come this far, but real people will always make the difference.
In any case, you do not have to invest in any translation tool yet, because we have good news! In the job market, companies want people who speak multiple languages. In fact, in America, for example, it appears that 75% of manufacturing companies require employees with diverse language skills. A recent analysis by the BBC shows that foreign language learning in secondary schools has dropped by as much as 50% since 2013. Language proficiency in the Netherlands is also declining, making you very valuable. Even if you still sometimes need a translation tool during your work! But perhaps it’s a good idea to check with a native speaker next time when you translate your menu…
What are your experiences with translation tools, and do you think they will ever become substitutes for human translators?