Technology – threat or opportunity?

Ellen Singer, the Netherlands

New technology can be considered either a threat or a source of opportunities. Technology is often developed to increase efficiency (more products in less time), to improve a product (higher quality) or to decrease costs, or a combination of these objectives. New technology always has consequences which cannot be foreseen when first developed.

Professionals can adapt their product or service to new technology, either by applying the new technology or by offering products that bypass it. Knowledge of the technology is required to decide which strategy best fits our own needs. As technology develops, people develop new work methods and strategies. Every change is perceived as a threat by some and as an opportunity by others, but in general new technology always changes the way people work.

The translation market is growing. Machine translation and neural machine translation are taking over various slices of the pie, but will this mean the end of human translation? Can we incorporate MT and NMT into our work, just as we have done with CAT tools? Will machines ever be creative enough to rewrite marketing texts in another language? Could they take a concept and create a similar concept in a different language, taking cultural differences into account? Is the pie growing at such a pace that MT and NMT will be applied only to certain types of text, leaving other types virtually unscathed? Or do we need to find other products?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of MT and NMT? Will they increase our job opportunities? Render us obsolete? Can we predict the future?

The objective of this talk is to ‘discuss’ our options, knowing that we need to adapt to new technology. But every translator can decide whether to implement the technology or not, whether to find a new ‘product’ or to apply the new technology (tools) in order to increase their efficiency and provide a less ‘personal’ translation. Some may even be able to continue without implementing changes …


About the presenter

Ellen Singer

Ellen Singer has more than 20 years of experience as a full time translator and project manager. She owns a small technical translation agency with her husband that focuses on quality. Ellen has been working with CAT tools since the 1990s. She loves challenges and knowledge and enjoys cooperating with others.

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