Why are translators more important now than ever before?

December 14, 2016
Why are translators more important now than ever before?

The connections between countries, be they commercial, political, friendly or otherwise, have never been more complex. The advance of technology is often credited with making the world smaller. It has also made it more complex in myriad ways. 

The modern role of professional translation

The professional translation industry has expanded and adapted to suit the changing requirements of the world around us. As technology has developed, so too has the need for professional human translators to work their linguistic magic on software and apps spanning a vast range of subject matter. 

Nor is this expansion yet in decline – here at Tomedes we believe that app translation is going to be one of the key translation and localization trends of 2017. Video translation also makes it into this list, thanks to the vast (and growing) use of video content online. 

As technology has developed, so too has the medical profession. Again, translation has had an important role to play, enabling new breakthroughs to be shared around the world and the benefits of advances in technology to be much more widely appreciated. 

Traditional translation still in demand

While demand for modern uses of professional human translation has spiralled, many traditional reasons for using translators also remain in force. Businesses with staff teams overseas, dealing with customers of different nationalities or developing international partnerships still use translation as an essential part of their operations. So too do government bodies working with their international peers and delivering services to citizens of multiple linguistic origin within their own borders. 

The use of translation and localization services in marketing campaigns is also still rife. Many businesses continue to rely heavily on professional translators in order to operate their marketing activities overseas. 

Literary translation is also still going strong, with the translation of poetry and important works of fiction serving to promote cultural interaction and aid shared understanding. 

Human versus machine translation

Of course, as technology has developed, so too has machine translation. From Microsoft to Facebook, the big players are racing to develop truly accurate translation, using machine learning developments such as neural networks to try and crack the linguistic Holy Grail. Aside from the fact that whichever company achieves it first will make an eye-watering amount of money out of doing so, the uses of machine translation within their own companies continue to expand rapidly. Facebook’s cross-border connections, for example, are encouraging the interaction of individuals and businesses all around the world, with the ability to see content in other languages enhancing this significantly. 

Thankfully for us humans, nobody has yet created a machine that can translate with the same skill as a human translator. The ability to produce flawless copy in other languages still eludes the brightest minds in the tech industry, as well as the brightest machines that they have created. 

Thus professional human translators are still essential in enabling the rapid globalisation that has embraced our planet. From commercial connections to political dealings to cultural understanding, the role of translators has never been more key to ensuring that the world operates as efficiently as possible. 

As cross-border interactions continue to increase (as a result of the evolution of technology), the need for translators will continue to increase with it. Thus not only are translators more important now than ever before, but their value will continue to rise alongside the development of the information age itself. 

Final thoughts

In what other ways has professional human translation become more important as technology has changed the shape of the world around us? And for how long will it continue to be important? Leave a comment in the box to let us know your views. 

By Ofer Tirosh

Ofer Tirosh is the founder and CEO of Tomedes, a language technology and translation company that supports business growth through a range of innovative localization strategies. He has been helping companies reach their global goals since 2007.



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