The translation industry is constantly evolving, with current innovations shining the light for some remarkable possibilities in the future. With these advances, we can translate content more quickly, accurately and efficiently than ever before.
In this blog, we’re delving into three areas where some of the most fascinating trends, technologies and innovations are reshaping the future of translation.
1. The Evolution of Machine Translation (MT)
Machine translation (MT) is a type of translation that uses computers to translate text from one language to another. It has been around for many years. However, since the emergence of neural machine translation (NMT), we’ve begun to see the real value that this technology can offer.
Neural Machine Technology (NMT)
NMT uses artificial neural networks modelled on the human brain to observe patterns, encoding them into vectors and decoding them to predict word sequences. NMT has several advantages over traditional machine translation techniques:
- It can learn from much larger datasets of translated text, allowing for more accurate translations.
- It can capture the long-range dependencies between words in a sentence, enabling more fluent and natural-sounding translations.
- It is more adaptable to new languages and domains.
However, NMT is still a developing technology, and its performance has some limitations. For example, it can sometimes struggle with translating idiomatic expressions and humour, and ensuring cultural sensitivity. And, while its accuracy and fluency are improving, NMT translations still often require human post-editing to correct errors and tailor the language style.
The Power of Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI is a catalyst driving the advances in machine translation. AI-driven MT systems are now capable of learning from vast datasets of translated text, enabling them to generate translations that have the potential to rival human fluency. Companies like Google, Microsoft and DeepL are leading the charge, harnessing AI to create translation services that could be faster and more reliable than ever before.
2. Multimodal and Augmented Reality (AR) Translation
The future of translation isn’t limited to text alone. Multimodal translation involves seamlessly converting text, audio, images, and video across languages. For example, imagine watching a foreign film and receiving real-time subtitles that perfectly sync with the dialogue or taking a photo of a street sign in a foreign country and instantly receiving a translation overlay. These scenarios are becoming increasingly attainable with the integration of AI and image recognition technologies.
Meanwhile, augmented reality (AR) translation is set to revolutionise how we explore new places and interact with different cultures. An example of its application is being able to walk through a foreign city and, through your AR glasses or smartphone app, see translated information about landmarks or menus and even have real-time conversations with locals. By overlaying translated text or audio onto the physical world in this way, AR translation can make travel more immersive and accessible for everyone.
Companies are investing heavily in making multimodal and AR translation a reality, so the future of translation in this area is hugely exciting!
3. Crowdsourced and Community-Driven Translation
While AI and machine learning are making tremendous strides in translation, they can’t replace the human touch entirely. However, there are alternative ways to leverage the skills of human translators that are emerging, which can offer greater scalability and efficiency: Crowdsourced and community-driven translation platforms.
Crowdsourced translation relies on a global network of volunteers collaborating to translate content quickly and cost-effectively. Specialised platforms facilitate this process, ensuring quality through peer reviews and moderator oversight.
Meanwhile, community-driven translation revolves around dedicated linguist groups sharing a common mission to deliver high-quality, consistent translations. These communities often form around specific causes or projects and are characterised by long-term commitment and collaborative leadership.
Both approaches use collective expertise to make content accessible to diverse audiences and play an essential role in shaping the future of translation as technology continues to evolve.
Why translation agencies still have a vital role to play
While the future of translation is indeed exciting, with the promise of advanced technologies and collaborative approaches, the role of professional translation agencies remains indispensable. While AI and crowdsourced efforts offer efficiency and accessibility, translation agencies bring expertise in handling complex and sensitive content, ensuring cultural nuances are accurately preserved, and maintaining the highest standards of quality and confidentiality.
In a rapidly evolving world where precision and cultural sensitivity are paramount, the human touch and specialised knowledge offered by professional translation agencies continue to be invaluable in bridging language divides and facilitating effective global communication.
At Mission Translate, we aim to remain on the cutting edge of translation developments, ensuring we can always offer our clients the optimum combination of skills, technology and expertise to deliver the highest quality results.
To find out more, please get in touch with our team.