With the rise of AI translation, why hire human translators

Published on 18 May 10:38 by Sam Yip
Tags: translation   finance   legal   industry   AI   management   machine translation   hiring   compliance   tools  

TranslateFX With the rise of AI translation, why hire human translators

With the rapid improvement in AI translation technology, people often wonder if AI translation will replace human translation, fearing that us humans will lose jobs to a robot translator. From the business management perspective, the question many business owners have in mind is whether a company will still need to hire human translators or if AI translation can reach human-level accuracy one day.

It is understandable a normal person(s) would believe in the potential of AI translation replacing humans. However, experts in the industry, including ourselves at TranslateFX, do not believe so. The upshot is businesses will continue to hire translators, externally or internally, but the productivity of translators will benefit immensely from the advancement and assistance of AI technology.

There are a couple reasons for this:

1. Translation is Sometimes an Art

In some circumstances, translation is considered an art that is part of the creative process. This is especially common for the translation of marketing, PR or advertising content. Instead of replacing words in one language with corresponding words in a new language, the process -- sometimes called "transcreation" -- focuses on conveying the same message, tone and concept in a new language. Messages translated as such should evoke the same emotions and carries the same implications in the target language as it does in the source language. This process requires translators to inject their own creativity and cultural knowledge to create content that resonates with a new audience, and this human element is not something that AI can replace.

In the example below:

The English tag line is "Lots to love. Less to spend."

Yet the Chinese tagline is literally "Lots of excitement, little spending." Translation as such requires capturing the style and tone, without a robotic adherence to the original text.

2. Liability Management

The translation of financial or legal documents often gives to the issue of liability management. Someone needs to take ownership of the translated documents, because the readers would need to rely on these documents to carry out a commercial transaction. For example, financial offering documents for retail investors are often required to be translated into the local language, and regulators in the relevant jurisdiction would require a "translation certificate" from the arranger of such offering as part of their review procedure to safeguard to the integrity of the translated content.

3. Ambiguity in Original Content

While AI is getting increasingly skilled at translating content in a literal sense, it is not suited for situations where the original content is ambiguous. The issue of ambiguity can be a result of poor drafting by the author, or because the content is meant for audience where short-hand expressions and particular style will be understood without further explanation. The more ambiguous the text is, the less reliable AI translation will be, and situations as such would typically require a human to seek clarification with the author.

For these reasons, businesses cannot entirely avoid the need of hiring human translators. The best way to view the rise of AI is they are tools to help humans become more productive and efficient at their work.

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TranslateFX develops AI translation technology specifically for financial and legal institutions. The company develops AI models and workflow tools for clients of all sizes. We believe humans always play and important part of the process and our tools reduce the time and costs of translation by 60% or more.

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