Last night in Dutch class, we had to do a game: which professions would still exist in the 25th century? Which would have disappeared?
Of course, translation was also in question. What about machines? Couldn’t they do translation now? Some had used Google Translate, and it worked fine for them…
Machine translation is now a reality; yet, the famous application Google Translate is the tip of the iceberg. Professional translators do not resort yet to machine translation because it is not up to par, but most use TenTs – and with the increasing demand on translation these days, if it were not for TenTs, there would not be enough translators to face the amount of work to be done.
What I imagine is that there still will be translators in the future. Why?
– Translators are writers. There will always be a need for good writers: People who can present information in a clear, understandable way. People who can use words to achieve a certain effect on an audience.
– Translators are mediators between different cultures. There will always be a need for that, because people will stick to their cultures and their languages.
The profession will certainly change in the future: it has changed a lot since the 1980s’ after all. But these two aspects? They look pretty timeless to me.
Per Dohler has an interesting post about what it is to be a translator, or be someone merely posing as a translator, the CAT revolution, and the prediction “translators will be obsolete in ten years”: