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作者:佚名    文章来源:本站原创    更新时间:2020/11/18

Can Computer Translators Ever Beat Speaking a Foreign Tongue? 计算机翻译会取代人工翻译吗?
 Put “crottin de chèvre” into Google Translate, and you’ll be told it means goat dung.
  So if it appeared on a menu, you might pass. Alas, you would be ruling out a delicious cheese made of goat’s milk that is often served as a starter in France.
  Such misunderstandings are why Google admits that its free tool, used by about 500 million people, is not intended to replace human translators.
  Tourists might accept a few misunderstandings because the technology is convenient. But when the stakes are higher, perhaps in business, law or medicine, these services often fall short.
  “Using Google Translate can lead to some serious errors, especially when words have multiple meanings, which is often the case in fields such as law or engineering,” says Samantha Langley, a former lawyer who is now a legal translator based in Meribel, France.
  That is not to say professional translators do not use computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools. Some sophisticated applications can help them take the donkey work out of repetitive translations.
  CAT tools are even used as part of modern language degree courses these days. So how good are they?
  在谷歌翻譯中输入crottin de chèvre,它会告诉你其意思是“山羊粪”。
  One of the most popular new tools is the so-called “translation earpiece”. Usually paired with a smartphone app, they pick up spoken foreign languages and translate them for the user.
  “It has taken decades of research to create a framework of algorithms designed to recognize patterns in the same way as the human brain—a neural network,” says Andrew Ochoa, chief executive of US startup Waverly Labs, which produces translation earpieces. “Combining that with speech recognition technology has allowed us to make a huge leap forward in terms of accuracy.”
  There’s no doubt that CAT tools have taken some of the hard grind out of text translations like instruction manuals or questionnaires, says Milan-based Paola Grassi, a professional translator for Wordbank, a global marketing and translation agency.
  “Survey contents are among the most repetitive ones and a good CAT tool can hugely speed up the process,” she says.

  For meetings and conferences, wearable translators like Waverly’s are undoubtedly popular. But even this new generation tech, which combines speech recognition neural networks and Internet-based translation engines, has limitations.
  Users must wait at least a few seconds for a phrase to be translated, or more if the Internet connection is poor.
  And computers still lack the subtlety of human communication.
  “Translation technology is undoubtedly a useful tool for certain content such as manuals,” says Zoey Cooper, brand  director at Wordbank. “But if you want to create a relationship with the reader, you need a human translator to make it sound natural and capture the sentiment.”
  “经过几十年的研究,我们创建了一种算法框架,目的是以与人脑(神经网络)相同的方式来识别语言模式。”美国初创公司、翻译耳机生产商Waverly Labs的首席执行官安德鲁·奥乔亚说,“通过将它与语音识别技术相结合,我们大幅提高了翻译的准确性。”
  在各种会议中,Waverly Labs等公司制作的可穿戴式翻译器确实很受欢迎。但是,即使是这种结合了语音识别神经网络和基于互联网翻译引擎的新一代技术,也有局限性。
  “I believe CAT tools hinder creativity,” says Antonio Navarro Gosálvez, a translator based in Alicante, Spain. “If the tool shows you a partial translation match, I find it’s actually harder to discard part of the sentence and rebuild it than to just create something from scratch.”
  Ochoa thinks this problem could be resolved within the next 10 years.
  “When it comes to expressing emotion and intonation, we need sentiment analysis, which is not there yet but may well be in 10 years’ time,” he says.
  Foreign language skills are still in demand in the labor market.
  In the UK about 15 percent of the jobs posted on recruitment website Reed ask for a foreign language.
  New research from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages shows 75 percent of manufacturing companies need employees with diverse language skills.
  For Cooper, speaking a foreign tongue remains a precious skill.
  “There are lots of opportunities for language graduates, both in specialist translation and global marketing,” she said.
  And even if you don’t use your language professionally, it has other benefits.

 “How can you get to know a country and embrace the culture if you don’t speak the language?” says Cooper. “Even with the voice-activated apps available, you will still miss out.”

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