As the audio translation industry evolves and becomes more technologically advanced due to recent innovations, we find ourselves wondering about the future of translation and language services, and the increasing part machines are playing.
For now, the latest innovations don’t offer high quality consistency for fully-automated translations, but let’s look at some of the latest technological advancements that have been made in the language and audio translation industry:
Have you been browsing Facebook recently, only to see a post in Swedish or Norwegian that you don’t understand, with a ‘translate’ button underneath? Whether you’ve noticed or not, this is a great new function sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have integrated into their sites, and goes a long way to bridging the language gap for those of us interacting on a social level.
Chinese app WeChat is a messaging app that also allows for instant messages to be translated.
One of the most notable advances in human translation comes from consumer-focused machine translation (also referred to as simply ‘MT’) such as Google Translate, which can quickly translate a piece of text if you’re in a hurry. These MTs are improving and advancing all the time, with Google Translation having made noticeable inroads since its initial introduction. Ebay is also attempting to get a foot in, and purchased start-up AppTek (which specialises in MT) back in June. However, although we can, more often than not, get the gist of a piece of text, we cannot yet rely on these services for anything near a professional translation.
Recently put through its paces, via a public demonstration from Microsoft, Skype Translator uses a clever combination of text-to-speech, speech recognition and MT to help users connect with each other, regardless of their mother tongue – a welcome if slightly futuristic innovation (it’s actually been compared to something from Star Trek according to The Guardian) that is sure to cause ripples elsewhere in the market. This technology is still in its early stages, so there are still various problems to overcome before speech is effortlessly and flawlessly translated, but overall this looks promising for communications in the future.
Translation apps are on the rise, and we’ve seen successful examples such as Waygo and World Lens. A useful, clever little app for tourists and business travellers, World Lens is able to translate signs that are in foreign languages when a user captures an image using their smartphone or mobile device. An interesting point here is that World Lens is made by Quest Visual, a company that was actually purchased by Google back in May.
Are automated services good enough for professional use?
Google may be investing a lot into translation services but, unfortunately, these advancements are still not effective enough for use regarding professional, business or publication purposes, but are deemed perfectly acceptable for communicating socially, when all you really need is to understand what the other person is saying.
Language is so complex, and the truth is that, until all the bugs and various issues associated with automated translation are smoothed out, we still need to rely on humans to get it right. For professional audio and video translation services, contact the experts at Matinée Multilingual today to discover more about the services we can offer you.