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Is New Interpreting and Translating Technology Taking Over the Industry?

September 24, 2020by Emily Thomson

Technology is always developing and trying to make daily challenges easier, and this is also the case with translation and interpreting technology.

But is new technology taking over the interpreting and translating industry or will we always require human linguists?

New Interpreting and Translating Technology and Mechanisation

Mechanisation is the introduction of technology and machines into a process, activity or place. It has positively helped many industries to become more efficient and productive such as in agriculture and manufacturing. The implementation of new technologies results in processes becoming faster and producing higher yields. But even with the help of interpreting and translating technology such as, machine translation, human assistance is always needed to ensure accuracy and consistency. In some industries human skills cannot be fully replaced by technology, for example, in the hospitality, interpreting and translation industries.  Maybe one day we will have robots cooking and serving us food in restaurants but for now we need chefs and servers!

illustraition of robotic machine

What Interpreting and Translating Technology is there?

The tools currently available are designed and maintained by professionals in the language industry. These are some of the translation technologies used in the interpreting and translating industry:

Machine Translation- MT
A translation computer that can translate large texts with no human involvement.
Translation Management System- TMS
A system which automates translation services by tracking projects and checking quality
Advanced programs that specifically translate website such as Google Translate
Translation Apps
Mobile applications that provide cheap and fast translation. Only Accurate for single words
Translation Memory- TM
TM saves old human translations and reuses them to improve accuracy
Remote interpreting is possible via video and telephone on multiple technological devices e.g. smart phones, laptops, computers, tablets

Advantages of New Interpreting and Translating Technology

man holding ipad with technology effectsInternational companies are beginning to reach into new markets and need a reliable way to communicate.  Additionally, as globalisation increases there is a growing demand for interpretation and translation services. Due to these increasing demands, the translation and interpreting industry is also growing and there is need for fast and accurate services.

Technology has helped the language industry and has made many permanent changes to the way translation and interpreting services are delivered. These new technologies allow both written and verbal texts to be translated and interpreted a lot quicker, thus less human interpreters are needed which saves costs and the technology can guarantee security and confidentiality. Also the advancement of technology allowed for remote services to become available which removes the need to travel to different locations, again saving time and costs.

For basic texts or content that does not require copywriting or precise translation, such as personal emails, machine translation is a good option as translation technologies learn every time and store the data.

Why can we not rely on technology for translating and interpreting?

This must all sound great; you can save time, money and have a larger turn over. But unfortunately there are disadvantages to using technology as well.

You could argue that without technology there would be no need for translating and interpreting as we would not have the access to the transport needed to visit other countries. Therefore there would be no language barriers or different cultures and no need for linguists at all. I am sure you agree that this would be a very different world to live in; in the UK there would be no pizza, curry, or chocolate!  Even though we have technology to thank for globalisation and the mixture of cultures and languages, technology is not something that will define or ‘take over’ the interpreting and translation industry any time soon for the following reasons:

  • It is not reliableillustration of computer with error message on screen
  • Not advanced enough to provide accurate translations
  • Not confidential
  • The technology data base saves the translations
  • Cannot always translate the exact meaning of the text
  • Cannot translate words that do not have a direct translation
  • No understanding of emotion and cultural awareness
  • Only understand the most basic grammar and vocabulary
  • Not aware of ‘local’ phrases such as expressions and slang
  • Can only provide word for word translation

In 2020 translation and interpreting technology is not advanced enough to take over the translation and interpreting industry but we do not know what the future holds.

Book Your Qualified Translator

At Absolute Interpreting and Translation Ltd, we provide high-quality Technology Translations. We also provide this service in London, Manchester, Essex and many other cities across the UK and internationally.

For more information or a free quote please contact us at +44 (0)121 356 3229 and a member of our team will gladly answer all of your questions. Alternatively, you can email us at:

Emily Thomson

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