Looking to the future- what will translation look like in 5 years' time_

Looking to the future: what will translation look like in 5 years' time?

The digital revolution is in full swing. The typewriter has disappeared and the computer has taken its place. Just like the typewriter, more and more professions will disappear. As a translation agency you have to ride that raging digital train if you don't want to suffer the same fate as the old-fashioned typewriter. What does the future of translation look like five years from now?

Translation memory: the start of the digital revolution

Translation memory is one of the technologies underlying the digital revolution of the translation world. A translation memory is a database consisting of sentences and phrases in the source language, as well as the corresponding translation into the target language. The translator works with a translation software and during the translation process this database is continually searched to check whether a sentence or term has already been translated. If so, the translation can be reused. It is a very efficient and consistent way of working.

Imagine how many translated terms a translator had to remember before the digital revolution! One page after another had to be flipped to find the previous translation.

Fortunately, this is now a thing of the past and you are just a few clicks away from any previously translated word.

The rise of machine translations

But the digital train races on unabated. Since 2000 the machine translation has made a big flight, a term that still causes many people to shudder. And although a machine translation is not 100% accurate, it is a technological tool that enables the translator to work better and more productively on a translation.

Better translations thanks to artificial intelligence

Machine translation cannot escape the digital revolution either. Thanks to artificial intelligence, there has been a shift from statistical machine translation to neural machine translation. Statistical machine translation generates translations based on static models, resulting in formal documents that have little to do with how we talk to each other every day.

In the world of translation, artificial intelligence using neural network technology is making translations increasingly human.

How? By collecting informal data through, for example, social media messages with the aim of converting sayings, proverbial expressions, regional terminology, street language and other spoken elements more accurately from one language to another.

Post-editing: the future of translation

Over the years, many technological aspects have gradually changed the way translators work. The emergence of post-editing is probably one of the most significant changes, and it is the future of translation.

The post-editing process consists of reviewing and revising a text that has been translated by advanced translation technology, or machine translation. Post-editing has been used for a long time, mainly by large companies in the IT sector.

Post-editing: the best of both worlds

Looking at the history of translation, we dare to claim that post-editing will be used more and more in the future, mainly in technical and legal fields.

Artificial intelligence and human expertise
Post-editing is a combination of:

  1. The exceptional speed of machine translations
    Advanced translation machines can produce thousands of words within minutes and convert them into reasonably accurate and usable translations in virtually all languages.

  1. And the human touch of a professionally trained translator
    The human aspect adds nuances to a translation that a machine does not have. This includes sensitive cultural content, word play and tone of voice.

For which types of text is post-editing suitable?
Post-editing is ideal for technical, legal and general business translations, such as:

  • websites
  • blog entries
  • manuals
  • product descriptions
  • ads
  • general terms and conditions

Short descriptive texts, tables, texts with many word repetitions or technical terms, and large volumes of texts are eligible for post-editing.

In addition, post-editing lends itself well to companies that regularly want to translate texts in the same language combination within a specific discipline. It can also benefit companies that would like to have an idea of the scope of a document before deciding which parts will be translated more accurately.

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