How will language bring one another closer even though they live further?
Nowadays, instant interlingual communication is possible thanks to new technologies and apps. There is no need to have a Bachelor’s in French or Korean to interact with your friends all around the globe. All you really need is cooperation and merging of those new technological tools: When Google Translate meets Skype.
In the constant war between pro and anti-technology activists, all can agree that on a humanitarian level, it is a relief. A soldier, a doctor or a volunteer sent to another country to save a population has no time to learn a language in such a short amount of time. And that’s when translation tools come in handy, for one to understand the other pain or suffering.
Accuracy or coarseness?
Google Translate is approximately used in everything we do; first, for knowledge, you can turn your Wikipedia page in every language and figure you like. Made of translation memories, terminology/electronic databases and management programs but using word for word substitution. Of course, there is always a marge of linguistic errors and misinterpretation with statically calculated responses. Translation machines are still primitive and dodgy and could never equal a real interpret’s brain and its linguistic skills. Many videos and TV shows are mocking Google Translate coarseness and silliness in videos like: “ Fresh Prince Google translated” or The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon “Google Translate songs with…” ; which are hilarious and quite terrifying for our works and knowledge at the same time.
Are there any new devices that could overcome those obstacles?
PILOT is a new device, a real-time language translator earpiece using the latest speech recognition and machine translation technologies. So, when someone speaks, an earpiece detects the speech pattern linked to a translating app that switches between languages and sends those written words to voiced sounds one in your ear.
ILI is the instant offline translation device for all travellers; the company assures that: “ILI can translate your words in as little as 0.2 seconds without any internet connection. It’s portable and wearable to take it anywhere you want”. It’s described as a remote when you watch TV, but you switch the language of the channel. It’s a quick translation with 3 language inputs. Its enhanced library is full of common travel sentences about dinner, directions, and shopping lexica.
The Russian system called Yandex can translate webpages and works in 60 languages, even Tolkien elvish dialect… it tries to be the best machine by capturing human delicacies, nuances, jokes, puns, and dialectic expressions. Merged with the messaging app Telegram it can do miracles for group chats, written in A native language and transcribed to B language.
There are still some improvements and engines to develop before we can travel the world safely and fully comprehend all that surrounds us. No matter what, it is crazy to see where technology enables us to cross cultures in a time-lapse.
Stephen Doherty, The University of New South Wales, Australia, “The Impact of Translation Technologies on the Process and Product of Translation” International Journal of Communication 10(2016).
Donald Strachan, The Telegraph, “The five best translation apps for travellers”, 29 January 2015.
Dylan Love, “Instant Translation Tech Spreads the Love”, Innovation, Inverse, 2.8.2017, https://www.inverse.com/article/11766-how-instant-translation-tech-will-change-the-way-the-world-talks-and-listens
Margot Barthelemy, « Deepl vs Google traduction : un David contre Goliath des temps modernes », 21 avril 2018, https://mastercaweb.u-strasbg.fr/actualites/traduction-localisation/deepl-vs-google-traduction-un-david-contre-goliath/