Friday, February 24, 2017

Translation: Machines versus Humans

Esther Chung and Kim Jee-hee report that "Machines [are] no match for humans in translations" (JungAng Daily, February 22, 2017):
Human translators proved their superiority in the first translation competition with artificial intelligence programs here [in Seoul] on Tuesday. Their translations were significantly better in terms of quality and accuracy.
Whew! After chess masters losing to Deep Blue and baduk (go) players losing to AlphaGo, some feared the next to fall would be human translators, but that was not to be, so my wife and I are assured secure freelance work for some time yet in translating from Korean to English.

Machine translation will get better and better, of course, but that may be a long, slow process, especially for literary translations.

Till then, we translators can use machines for a first approximation . . .



At 2:25 AM, Blogger TheBigHenry said...

Is "verses" instead of "versus" a pun?

At 6:16 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Oops. An inadvertent pun. Thanks.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 10:47 AM, Blogger ZZMike said...

The Italians have a saying: Traduttore traditore ("translator, traitor"). Most everyone remember the early days of machine translation, where the phrase "out of sight, out of mind" went into Russian ans came back "bind idiot"). I've started to read what's considered a very good translation of Don Quixote, by Edith Grossman.
I think we can separate translation into at least two parts: literary and commercial. The literary tries to capture the intention of the writer - not always easy: English is replete with idioms that make no sense in other languages. The commercial tries only to convey the meaning of the message.

At 12:49 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, ZZM. My own novella would be hard to translate, given the many puns I've incorporated in the wording.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *


Post a Comment

<< Home