The pace at which technology is advancing means that many industries are finding exciting new ways to evolve. The translation industry is no exception. As such I wanted to take a quick look at advances in machine translation and what these machine translation trends mean for the sector.
Though it’s still far from perfect, machine translation can do much to level up the speed and efficiency of translators’ work. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the current state of machine translation and what it means for 2022 and beyond.
Just so we’re all on the same page, I’ll start with the basics. Machine translation is when a computer, rather than a human, translates text from one language to another. If you’ve ever used Google Translate, you’ve seen a machine translation engine in action.
So, what does 2022 hold in store for machine translation? Let’s take a look at some of the upcoming top trends. For wider translation industry trends, you can click the link below.
One key trend will be an increase in attempts to leverage new forms of translation and to drive up their quality. As devices such as smartphone cameras continue to advance, so too will the way in which translation engines use them.
Other forms of artificial intelligence will come into play as well. For example, machine generated blog posts, news items and other pieces of content may well be translated for consumption by overseas audiences. In addition, we’re likely to see machine translation increasingly included within other platforms.
As machine translation becomes more accessible and of a higher quality, adoption rates will rise. According to the latest report from Industry Research, the global machine translation market is expected to achieve compound annual growth of 19% until 2024.
As I mentioned above, machine translation still isn’t perfect but when used in collaboration with human skill, it can deliver faster, more efficient translation services. Just as this post is being dictated rather than typed, because technology has advanced to the point where that approach is more efficient, using translation engines can enhance the overall translation process. As such, it can deliver benefits for translators and their clients, with translators able to work faster and take on more projects, and clients enjoying the resulting cost savings.
Translators using the best machine translation tools may also be able to innovate in terms of their service offering. For example, the continuing need for nuance with documents such as marketing translations means that translators can take advantage of translation technology in terms of the copy, while dedicating greater time and focus to the nuance of the localization psychology.
As interest in machine translation grows, it’s also inevitable that new players will enter the marketplace. In 2022, we’re likely to see start-ups and disruptors challenging the (slow) progress of some of the larger industry players.
We saw this happen when translation engines switched to using neural machine translation as their approach, moving away from statistical translation. Using an artificial neural network made translations more accurate and inspired a number of new entrants to the marketplace.
Just as the use of neural networks and machine learning has changed the approach to machine translation, making it more accurate, so too will evolving technology make it easier for new players to enter the translation space.
According to CSA Research, we can also look forward to machine translation levelling up in terms of its intelligence. That’s going to take place in a number of ways. For example, machine translators are increasingly able to take into account factors such as the age and gender of the author (or speaker). And they are also becoming increasingly aware of metadata and context. The result? Higher quality translations.
With all these promising machine translation trends at play, should you switch to machine translation for every document right now? No, not quite yet...
Machine translations are certainly more accurate than they used to be. However, they lack the nuance and subtlety that human translators can deliver. For some documents, this doesn’t matter. For others, machine translation simply won’t suffice. It depends entirely on who is going to be reading the document and what its purpose is.
As machine learning and machine translation evolve, so will the way in which we use them. In 2022 and beyond, translation engines will provide a way for the sector to undertake its work more efficiently. Machine language translation is not something to be feared as a threat to translators’ jobs. Rather, it is an opportunity for progressive translators to offer new services and work at a faster pace. We will see that play out during 2022.