by Manuel Herranz
This will not be a long article or comment, as the source speaks for itself. There is very interesting food for thought in the line of this month’s Pangeanic’s blog posts. The article is a 3-page conversation with Senior Exec Alan Eustace on Innovation Strategy and the Technology. You need to read all 3 pages (slowly and digest them) in order to get the full picture. I quote the most interesting bit for translation professionals (there are more interesting quotes)
“Machine translation will become ubiquitous and as good as human translation, so the language barrier will be gone. All mobile devices will have speech input. Having all local information—maps, directions, and so forth—will be commonplace.”
Now, how’s that for clarity and committed statements? What are the implications for translation companies and the whole of the Translation Memory-dependent industry?
(If you need the source, it is page 3 following this link).
This ought not to be the fear for many, although it will. It ought to be taken as the chance to create new markets, jobs and opportunities. Above all, it will be able to satisfy many more needs that currently are being denied. I do not see the language industry in its current shape in the next decade, not even in 5 years. Columbus did not reach American shores in a canoe, let’s use that as a visual example of the language industry. There will be combinations (cellphones incorporating cameras+ OCR + translation will become commonplace), automated multilingual subtitling for TV news, etc.
Such ubiquity will also facilitate access to information in ways not foreseen before. I praise initiatives like globalvoices for helping people’s voices be heard, although it is still dependant on free time and volunteer translators. Globalvoices is a rare translation community initiative that actually makes a difference -it also got a review in the New York Times last May.