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AI and the Future of Work for Professional Translators

Globally, translators find themselves at a crossroads battling with the rise of Artificial Intelligence in the translation industry. While they have genuine fears of becoming obsolete and being replaced by AI, it’s undeniable that this technology has already significantly reshaped the landscape of translation and language services. Undoubtedly, it’s safe to say the future of AI in translation looks promising. This article aims to present a more optimistic view of Artificial Intelligence and the future of work for professional translators. 

According to Lensa, rather than being afraid of AI, translators can shift their attention to exploring and embracing this technology’s possibilities in translation. As we will later see, it will become clearer that understanding the potential of AI and envisioning a collaborative partnership with it can empower translators to leverage their strengths, enhancing their skills and contributing to the growth of the translation industry. 

The rise of AI in the translation and language industries 

Artificial Intelligence’s impact in language translation has been nothing short of revolutionary. Now, the obstacle of the language barrier is no longer as challenging as it used to be. As a result, AI in translation is making global connections and communication simpler and easier than ever before. Thanks to the continuous advancements of AI and machine learning, translation services have vastly improved in speed, accuracy, and accessibility to a global audience, both individuals and businesses.

So far, one of the biggest developments has been the emergence of Neural Machine Translation (NMT). This advanced machine translation technology uses artificial neural networks for more accurate and automated translations. This is one of the most reliable translations available, delivering results as accurate as 90%. AI is progressively becoming more intuitive, making it significantly more reliable for tools and software in the translation services industry. 

Currently, the AI software market alone is a force to be reckoned with and is forecasted to be worth more than a whopping $1.3 trillion by 2029. Consequently, the work of human translators will likely be facilitated and simplified. Although AI quickly reshapes the translation industry with exciting tools and software, where does this leave human translators? 

Should human translators be afraid of AI? 

As mentioned earlier, Artificial Intelligence is reshaping the translation industry, and the world cannot get enough of it. However, as exciting as it might be, human translators constantly fear being replaced by AI. These are genuine fears as studies such as the 2013 University of Oxford predicted that AI would eliminate nearly 50% of US jobs over the next two decades. However, what most professionals are unaware of is that AI has the potential to not only create new jobs but also enhance the productivity of existing jobs. 

What does this mean for human translators? The answer is that AI translation services will not put translators out of work anytime soon. Instead, this technology can potentially create new and exciting jobs and career opportunities for professionals in translation. However, adapting to this new and exciting change won’t be a walk in the park, as the biggest challenge would be to rethink the role of human translators in the industry. 

This way, we can best see how human translators and AI can work together and redefine the translation services industry. 

How can human translators and AI technologies work together? 

Now that we’ve put human translators’ worries to rest let’s see how they can work together with AI for greater success. First, AI-powered machine translation tools can easily handle standardized content. Examples include technical manuals and product descriptions. As a result, human translators’ time can be freed up for more intricate tasks, such as the translation of legal documents accurately with cultural context in mind. 

AI technology still has a long way to go to fully grasp colloquialisms, tone of voice, and other nuances of language. In addition to saving time and costs by using AI and neural machine translation, human intervention can also be used to validate and refine the technology’s work. As a result, the cooperation between human expertise and touch and AI’s efficiency enhances translation quality, productivity, and overall, better user experience for clients. So, it’s safe to say that AI and the future of work for translators are promising. 

The future of AI in translation is promising

So far, it’s clear that AI isn’t going anywhere. Rather, AI technology is set to remain an important part of translation language services. However, human translators don’t need to fear being replaced because AI still has a long way to go. 

Instead, the emergence of technology in translation quickly reshaping the way we think about humans in this industry for the better. New and exciting niches and roles for human translators are being carved out. When human translators embrace and collaborate with AI, they can enhance their skills and contribute to the industry’s growth for a promising future.

Thomas Leishman

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