ARE WE STILL IN BUSINESS?
I recently stumbled upon an article talking about the fast growing market for machine translations, and how to choose between human translation and machine translation for your content. It said that the machine translation market is growing at such a fast pace that it is predicted to reach $980 million by 2022. Being a human I obviously got scared for a moment, until my brain started working, and my human predictive abilities kicked in. At the end of my reasoning process, I’d made peace with the machine, and even thanked her for sparing me the boring jobs.
For those of you who don’t know how many types of translations are out there, I’ll tell you. There are about 8 or 9 types of translations generally accepted with technical translation, juridical translation, and literary translation ranking at the top of today’s market demands. The machine translation can pretty much cover the first two relatively well (depending on the language the content is required, etc., but I’m not getting into that), but the literary translation is completely outside its jurisdiction, considering the fact that is an art form created by humans that only humans can decipher, so we got something going for us. But what made my future look brighter was the fact that the translation process includes and requires many different approaches to getting the job done. And choosing which to one to use and in what situation, is something the machine can’t yet do (and I predict it won’t do in my lifetime).
The Sociolinguistic Approach to translation puts context first and foremost where the sociocultural background is present in everything we translate. The Communicative approach places meaning before language as it is referred to as interpretive. The Hermeneutic Approach says the translator should be capable of becoming a writer in order to grasp what the author means to say. The Literary Approach considers language to have an energy that is manifested through words, and in The Semiotic Approach, translation is thought of as a way of interpreting texts in which encyclopedic content varies and each sociocultural context is unique. There is also the linguistic approach which says that any translation should be considered from the point of view of its fundamental units; that is, the word, the constitution and the sentence. But the machine already stole that. But as far as the other five are concerned, we’re still in business, and that is especially so for movie translators, or social media & marketing translators and transcreators who deal with all these approaches daily, and what is more, they are in the front lines of language inventions keeping up with the updates faster than any machine can do (The machine doesn’t know slang, abbreviations and professional lingo being the strict academic linguistic that it is.)
To sum it up, human translation will continue to be in demand for as long as business or entertainment needs of humans will exist. Even with the territory the machine has already taken from us, human translators can learn to adapt fast and branch out expanding their skills, and also using the help of the machine to save their time and their clients’ money. So Yes. I made peace with it. I know that my job will still be mine even after 100 years. Art will still be made by humans. Businesses too. Let them deal with legal documents, scientific papers, and all the technical stuff.
Freelance translators have it really tough when it comes to overcoming competition, but it’s gonna be even worse now that The Machine is here to stay. Or maybe not.