Is there any future for machine translation

The first public demonstration of machine-assisted translation was performed in New York on January 7, 1954 (also known as the Georgetown experiment). Developed jointly by Georgetown University and IBM, the demonstration involved completely automatic translation of more than sixty Russian sentences into English. This experiment became a catalyst for development in the field of machine translation.

Nowadays, machine translation is a part of our lives. Since Google Translate appeared, it seemed that the era of human translation was going to end.

In fact, it turned out to be the opposite. Demand for translation services continues to increase along with the growth of globalization and the wealth of information appearing in our daily lives.

Let’s take a closer look at the capabilities and limitations of machine translation.

Obviously, the main function of machine translation is to provide a basic understanding of the text. Machine translation of any type is recommended in the case that the text is not intended for public use, no clarification of nuances is required, and the cost of a mistake in translation has no value. You will be able to capture the gist of the text, convey the text’s meaning to foreign partners, and have a general understanding of the subject.

However, we always need to take into account that machine translation provides no guarantee of a correct translation. Any translated phrase may be called into question. Furthermore, it might appear that the meaning will be the exact opposite of the translation made by the machine.

Either way, the assistance of a translator will be required if the cost of a mistake in translation is high (e.g. if it is a contract or a user manual for a medical item) or if the translation is intended for public use (e.g. a presentation at a conference, software, or a website). Both post-editing of the machine translation and a simple manual translation from scratch require the involvement of a professional translator who will be responsible for the translation’s accuracy.

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