In an increasingly globalized world, translation plays a crucial role. It is everywhere: in books, recipes, movies, brochures, and instructions on how to assemble furniture or use the machine your dentist employs to give you a beautiful smile. But what happens with the advent of Artificial Intelligence?
Notably, the term "artificial intelligence" is far from new, dating back to at least the 1950s. Since then, AI has made remarkable strides, reaching a stage where it is undeniably encroaching upon various human roles— a contentious issue, particularly highlighted by recent developments at Domestika. The choice of "taking over" is intentional and in quotation marks because, as you may be aware, this intelligence lacks its own will, desires, or personal objectives. Consequently, its deployment rests entirely in the hands of humans and their ethical considerations.
Certainly, how does this impact us, the translators? Artificial intelligence has revolutionized how we conduct our translations. Nowadays, in addition to the well-known CAT tools, we experience a significant advancement in machine translation tools, which are more precise and faster than ever. But does this mean the end for us?
No, not at all. Artificial intelligence is far from being able to replicate or match human sensitivity—the ability to process and interpret implicit messages in a glance, a gesture, or a phrase that seemingly says one thing but carries another meaning. It falls short in understanding how cultural context can affect a message (or vice versa) and, in summary, is distant from producing a product with a human touch intended for a human audience.
So, are we enemies? Not at all. Just as we adapt to CAT tools to facilitate our work and to various other technologies aiming to optimize our time, we can use artificial intelligence in the same way: as a collaboration and in our favor.
AI can serve as support in tedious tasks, such as reviewing the technical aspects of our own translation when there's no other option and our eyes are tired of reviewing the same text over and over without finding errors. It can help us address quick questions, as we can pose more detailed and even existential queries if we prefer.
There has even been an observed growing demand for human reviewers and editors for translations generated by AI, as their final version clearly needs to be fine-tuned by a human. Initially, personally, I rejected such tasks because I felt like I had to declare war on artificial intelligence. However, with the increase in its usage, our only option is to join forces with the "enemy" and work collaboratively. Of course, being wise enough to distinguish a good client from a less understanding one, who recognizes that editing a text created by a machine is not an easy task.
In a future where the presence of AI is certain, translation will continue to be an invaluable tool. Nevertheless, the combination of AI and human skills is a proposition that could offer the best of both worlds. So, colleagues, brace yourselves for this intriguing journey of collaboration with artificial intelligence. 🌐🤖💬