Table of contents

Translation device on a white surface.

AI Translation: The End Of Language Barriers?

7 min.

Discover how AI translation software, powered by machine and deep learning algorithms, is revolutionizing the way we communicate globally, and the impact it may have on the traditional human translation industry in this article.

The world is witnessing an unprecedented breakthrough in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). Artificial Intelligence is an integral part of the digital revolution as it has penetrated industries and changed the way businesses operate. Although it is not a new concept but something that has been developed for years, AI is now beginning to enter our daily lives and breaking down barriers. One of the biggest barriers worldwide have been languages. While digital technology and communication via the internet have made global trade and commerce significantly easier, language remains one of the last true barriers.


The AI sector, however, is continuously working towards eliminating the hurdle of foreign languages by designing powerful translation tools and software. That poses the question of whether there is a limit to how far Artificial Intelligence can go in terms of banishing the obstacle of foreign language in international communication.


This article will discuss the depth of AI in the translation industry. In it, the way AI translation software works will be explained, the advantages and disadvantages of AI will be presented, and the restrictions of Artificial Intelligence will be put forward.


Here's How AI Translation Works

In order to understand how far Artificial Intelligence has developed in the sphere of translation, it is important to go behind the scenes into the workings of its software. While the way translation software works was kept mostly undisclosed in the past, today it is possible to dive into the processes that make digital translation what it is.

It is essentially the intersection of machine learning and language translation that is helping businesses and other organizations across the world gain access to new audiences, and facilitating international growth more efficiently than ever before possible.


Machine Learning & Deep Learning as driving forces

Many translation engines use the frameworks of Microsoft or Google, which however do not allow for the software to be trained and modified to understand new words and phrases. In order to use machine learning, the software must be integrated into a platform that allows it.

By definition, machine learning is the study of algorithms that improve systematically through experience without the need for explicit programming. Machine learning is a subdivision of AI that gives a computer system the ability to automatically learn and improve. The concept that computers can develop and adapt without the need for human intervention has proven successful through the application of machine learning algorithms in various areas of life. To compare with Google Translate, for example, which cannot be trained to improve translation quality over time, software based on machine learning can gradually be perfected. Machine learning does usually require some sort of user input, even if only initially to “train” the algorithm. Machine learning is where algorithms parse data, learn from that data, then apply what they have learned to make informed decisions, but if machine learning makes a mistake, it requires guidance from humans. That is the reason why machine learning was a method used primarily in the past.

Deep Learning, in turn, is a subdivision of machine learning. The main thing that sets Deep and Machine Learning apart is the fact that Machine Learning algorithms require structured data, whereas Deep Learning relies on artificial neural networks to extract information from unstructured data. Deep Learning depends on the quality of the data to a large extent. If it is not good enough, even the artificial neural networks can make mistakes. However, these neural networks learn to make informed decisions, and if a mistake is made, it learns to self-correct the mistake without human engineers providing input. Basically it learns on its own, very much like a human would. This is what makes it so powerful and better than machine learning alone. Both Deep Learning and Machine Learning revolve around the use of data, but the difference is that Deep Learning requires a much larger amount.

So, AI translation software can use both Machine and Deep Learning depending on the database and specifics. It can be said that the recent success of translation software in terms of accuracy is owed to Deep Learning and the function of artificial neural networks specifically. Machine Learning was more or less used in the older versions of translation software, while Deep Learning is what has helped it reach a new level. With each successful translation, Deep Learning machines incorporate what they learned and apply it to the next translation. In theory, the translations will improve with each iteration.


From Inaccuracy To Immeasurable Improvement

When thinking of translation software, the first thing that comes to mind is usually the inaccuracy of sentences that do not make any sense when translated. That was the case with Google Translate and similar software for many years – you would type in a sentence or a paragraph in a foreign language, and what would come up was mostly words put together without much logic or meaning. However, digital technology has come very far. That idea is now a thing of the past with translation software becoming increasingly accurate.

The reality today is that through the help of Deep Learning and artificial neural networks, digital translation has become more reliable than ever. What is more, it is its easy access and convenient system that makes it the preferred alternative for many businesses. Translation applications are available on any smart device, and there are specialized websites and software for the sole purpose of translation. Smart gadgets are emerging on the market. What they can provide is extremely fast translation through typing or even speaking into them. There are even some applications that can not only translate text and speech, but also images and street signs. The ability to run offline is also a big advantage for users. Such translation apps can be extremely useful for people who are travelling or working internationally. In the face of rapid globalization, such services have become invaluable for people regardless of whether they use them for work or fun.

This poses the question of whether human translation is still necessary. The translation industry has been around for centuries, but with the speedy development of machine translation, the need for humans could be eliminated.


Humans vs. Machines: The Reality Of The Translation Industry

Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of manual translation, especially when written, is that it is fairly slow. The average translator will take six to eight hours to translate 2,000 words. Considering how much text is on the average e-commerce website, a full translation can take days, and that is just for one language. When comparing that amount of time to translation software, the difference is significant. AI translation works by using hundreds of bilingual dictionaries to translate one language into another. Then, the technology links the sentence structure between the languages. If there are discrepancies, AI makes choices based on the statistical probability of accuracy. In practice, automated translation takes less time while also being more accurate than some linguists.

The use of neural machine technology is growing in the AI translation market. This technology generates neural connections from the information for language translation. Also, it is easy to feed newer materials and categories into the system to achieve human-quality translations. This process needs a minimal amount of changes in the system. Furthermore, it does not require any conventional training programs to translate additional languages. This makes it cost- as well as time-effective.

Although translation software has come incredibly far, it is still in the development phase. However, with the advantages of speed, accessibility and cheapness, it is no wonder that it has taken over both businesses and daily life.


Overcoming Language Barriers Step By Step

Many international companies face the challenge of overcoming language barriers. When communicating with partners abroad, it is essential to establish good communication. That is precisely why fast and accurate translation is so important.


AI Translation As A Key To Success

Translation is necessary for the spread of information, knowledge, and ideas. It is absolutely necessary for effective and empathetic communication between different cultures. What is more, translation gives businesses access to new markets. For many companies, expanding their business overseas offers them a possibility to conquer new territories and reach more prospects. As a result, they can increase their sales. Likewise, businesses that decide to expand internationally take advantage of a strong competitive advantage over the rest. Often companies that operate internationally may compensate negative growth in one country by being more successful in another country.

Business is not the only sector that benefits from translation. In an increasingly globalized world, speaking only one language is insufficient. Translation is extremely important when it comes to spreading information. English is often considered a global language, with a big portion of the world’s population speaking it as a first or second language. Most of the information we receive in terms of culture, music, television and news comes from English-speaking countries. That creates the need for qualified translators and reliable translation software to quickly translate it into different languages. Thanks to translation, we discover news and stories that happen every day across the world, which are presented to us through several means, in our language.

Moreover, translation is one of the key factors influencing tourism. It is well known that a great part of a country’s income comes from tourism. Translation is a tremendous and essential asset in the tourism sector, as it makes tourists feel welcome, and it also adds to the popularity and boosting of a country as destination of choice and being tourist-friendly, which leads to the increase in revenue.

Due to globalization, translation is now more important than ever. There is a growing need for fast, cheap and high-quality translation, which has opened up the opportunity for digital natives to develop and perfect translation software.


AI Translation Is Setting The Tone In The Industry

The digital revolution has overtaken a wide variety of industries and influenced almost all walks of life. It is a fact that digital technology has revolutionized the way we live and work, and it is here to stay. Translation is one of the industries that benefits immensely from the introduction of Artificial Intelligence. AI translation software has a number of advantages that make it a viable option for companies around the world.

  • Fast service

When time is a crucial factor, machine translation can save the day. It is no longer necessary to spend hours poring over dictionaries to translate the words. Instead, the software can translate the content quickly and provide a quality output to the user in no time at all. Artificial Intelligence has the ability to take a sentence and immediately translate it to multiple different languages just based off of its software. This is a key advantage to those who value quantity over quality.

  • Low costs

AI translation is comparatively cheap. Initially, it might look like an unnecessary investment but in the long run it is a very small cost considering the return it provides. This is because if you use the expertise of a professional translator, they will charge you on a per-page basis, which is going to be extremely costly compared to the relative cheapness of translation software.

  • Confidentiality

If the information that needs to be translated is sensitive or extremely important, giving it to a third party may not be the best option. With machine translation, the information is most likely to be protected.

  • Easy to use

Probably the biggest strength of AI is how easy and simple using it actually is. All one has to do is simply press a button and one can know something in a new language. Now even AI translation apps are coming out for your iPhone or Android so that you can instantly be translated on the go. Communicating on a global scale is becoming easier and easier for people and a large part of that is thanks to AI.

  • Tireless work

Machines will always have the upper hand when it comes to working consistently for long periods of time. This can be very useful in terms of translation. Not only are these programs extremely fast but the AI can go on for as long as you want. It can be turned on all day and night without problems, whereas the normal translator will always need time to sleep.

With the promise of faster, more convenient and cheaper translation, AI is looking very optimistic. It is almost as if there are hardly any limits to what the software can achieve. However, there appear to be some areas of language translation that Artificial Intelligence cannot reach such as dialects and metaphors.


Too Good To Be True? The limits Of AI translation

Language is constantly evolving and changing. There are around 7,000 different languages worldwide, excluding local dialects which add even more variety to an already wide pool. That is exactly the area where Artificial Intelligence faces challenges in translation.


The problem of culture

In reality, there is no way yet you can program a machine to understand culture. Different cultures in the world have different lexical items that are unique to that specific culture. Machines do not have the complexity to understand or recognize slang, idioms and in some cases names. This is one challenge machines have never been able to overcome and it will be extremely difficult for them in the future. The problem stems from the fact that while in one culture or region a word may mean one specific thing, in another it may be something completely different. At this point, it is very hard to even impossible for machines to be able to pick up local and regional phrases. Slang, specifically, is a challenge in itself. Mostly used by young people, there are constantly new words and phrases emerging that can be local or on a larger scale. In some cases, there are even idioms and popular culture references that appear and spread on the internet through social media. This quick process makes it a true hurdle for AI to overcome.

What is more, in different languages, there are words with dual meanings and this can be a significant problem for the machine translators. These words have to be related to the context to help determine their true meanings and only a human translation can do this. If you run a document with this kind of words through a machine translator, it will lead to inaccurate translations which disrupt the flow of the text. The document will be confusing and most of the sentences will lack logical meaning.


Lack of intonation

Every document written has a different style and tone as compared to the other one. A document can have a poetic, funny or persuasive style and tone but when it comes to translation, machines miss them. The document is meant to have that specific style and tone for it to be understood by the reader and if it lacks that, then the document’s meaning can go down the drain. Only a human translation can be able to match and recreate something similar to the style and tone of that document. The machine translator will lose the intended tone and intricate nuances of the original document, thus producing something that is flat and soul-less.

This also applies to voice-powered AI translators. Although they can be extremely accurate in translating the meaning of a message given to them via voice command, they cannot replicate its intonation.


Can AI eliminate human translation?

The truth is that even the most advanced AI translation is first and foremost powered by humans. In order to develop efficient AI translation software, manual intervention is needed even if just initially. What is more, the need for humans to be part of the machine translation equation is always there. After a translation is churned out by the machine, there has to be copyeditors and proofreaders to ensure the piece of translation is grammatically correct and it is also comprehensible. The human translator will put in the finishing touches to the piece localizing and enhancing it for the target audience.

Although AI-aided translation software has come very far over the past decade, humans still have the upper hand. AI is taking over the business of human translators, but the biggest challenge for AI is the emotions and cultural transfer. Another important aspect of translation is the context of using a particular word. For example, 'woods' in English is used for timber of a tree, and sometimes it refers to the forest. Machine translation needs equations and algorithms in the system to carry out the language translation. Ultimately, it needs human efforts and intelligence.

The ability to speak foreign languages will always be a valuable skill to have, both professionally and socially. The complexity of any language is something only humans can fully understand. This is a fact that even the geniuses behind automatic or machine translations tools have conceded to. This means they are developing these devices with the intention to help the human translators but not to force them out of the field.

All in all, machine translation cannot be complete in the absence of human efforts. What can be said, though, is that the translation industry is inevitably changing and adapting to the AI reality. So, the answer to the question “Can AI eliminate human translation?” is no – not for now or anytime soon. The key lies in the balance. AI translation software can immensely aid human translation and vise versa. By creating a symbiosis between human and machine translation, the best possible result is reached.


Discover More Exciting Articles

High Valyrian & Dothraki For Beginners

Top 7 Inspiring New Year Resolutions For A Fulfilling Year

Top 10 Most Stunning Places To Travel In Italy

Telephone handset and letter.
In order to provide various features on our website, better evaluate activities on our website, and always present to you suitable offers, we use cookies. Decide for yourself which cookies you would like to allow. By moving the respective cookie bar to blue and clicking on “Save settings“, you activate the corresponding cookie and agree that the cookie in question may be placed. You can reverse this on this page at any time.