Trends in Translation Software for 2017
Despite the uncertain future many businesses face in the light of recent global events, the translation software and machine translation market continue to expand and develop. What’s more – it is expected to be worth at around $7 billion dollars in 2019, which means that the demand for translation services is now higher than ever, due to businesses’ expansion into Asian markets and the need for sophisticated localization strategies.
Hybrid Machine Translation – A major shift in the translation industry. Hybrid machine translation has combined statistical techniques and the accuracy of human translation into a single machine translation system, to provide accurate and almost instant translations. The efficiency of the Hybrid Machine Translation has been proved and presented at the Japan Translation Festival back in 2011, and research has been undertaken to explore the possibilities presented by the hybrid approaches to machine translation.
Companies such as SYSTRAN have augmented their rule-based machine translation systems with various statistical techniques in providing accurate Chinese-English and English-Chinese translations. Employing Hybrid Machine translation has put the company in one of the top rankings in the industry, and its success means that many other translation organisations are going to be implementing the same technique in their work.
Neural Machine Translation – the latest development in Machine translation technologies. Neural Machine Translation has been at the centre of conversation amongst the industry professionals. An Artificial Neural Network is able to process information in a similar way as the human brain, since it is modelled after its neuron connections. The network learns by examples, provided by massive datasets and it can be used not only for translating between two languages, but also for recognising patterns, such as handwriting.
Google has been one of the first to announce their Neural Machine Translation System, which is supposed to bridge the gap between Human and Machine Translation. By integrating Artificial Intelligence within its Translation services, Google is hoping to improve its Chinese-to-English translations and deal with longstanding issues, such as the inability to recognise rare word or specific linguistic sounds. For some, the new improvements could even mean that Chinglish will be done with once and for all.
Despite its promising results, reducing translation errors by an average of 60%, the technology has a long way to develop and it’s hard to believe that it will replace human translation services in the years to come.
Microsoft have also managed to successfully tune in AI algorithms into the transcription of human conversations, even going so far as to argue that the AI transcription has produced more accurate results than the human-level process. After learning from 2000 hours of human speech, Microsoft’s scored the same error rate as the professional team of transcribers – 5.9%. However, this new AI system has its flaws, as it cannot yet recognise certain conversational nuances and it still needs to work on issues related to noise isolation. Nevertheless, there is definitely a reason to believe that traditional transcription services might change in the upcoming year.
Virtual and Augmented Reality – translation and localization have become even more important for video game developers who aim to provide consumers with an immersive, interactive experience. Games such as “Land’s End” are being translated into 6 different languages – English, French, German, Spanish, Korean, and Chinese, which emphasises the importance of accessibility and the removal of linguistic barriers. With an increasing number of games being produced in China, Chinese has become the source language, which presents a challenge for many translating and localizing companies and service providers. Within the virtual reality games, localized voice-over translations have been widely sought after, in order for people from various parts of the world to be able to fully enjoy the experience.
Emoji Translation – as odd as it sounds, this year has seen the upgrade of emojis into a complex complementary language, due to their innovative use by the younger generations. As a result, businesses now see emoji communication as an untapped opportunity to generate more profit, hence why the first emoji translators have emerged. Their job revolves around transforming the human speech into a series of emojis that would convey the same meaning. Emoji translators are aiming to customise the content to the likes of potential clients, facilitating an interactive relationship between a business and its customers. We can only guess how far this new trend will develop in the new year, keeping in mind the fast pace at which communications evolve.
However, these are definitely exciting times for the translation industry.