Lately, it seems as if all everyone could talk about is ChatGPT. Some say it might replace search engines as it can give a direct answer to our queries instead of having to scrounge over a list of results to find an answer. Others think it might become a vital tool for governments and businesses to communicate with each other.
It looks like AI is getting advanced so rapidly that soon it might replace many things, and translation seems to stand at the beginning of this line! Many have already tried using AI translating tools, and Google Translate has become a household name for travellers and people who have to deal with different languages daily.
So, it should be safe to use AI translation for all our needs in 2023, right? Sadly, this is not the case. Although AI technology has seen breakthroughs, it cannot replace professional human translators yet. It’s not even close.
Who is translating in 2023?
Translation and localisation is needed in many fields and industries. Here are some of the major users and their use cases:
What are the risks of using AI translation in 2023?
Most AI translation tools produce inaccurate translations, as they lack the knowledge and understanding of language nuances that a professional linguist has. This can lead to miscommunication and create confusion among people using AI translation.
Sure, the turnaround time is much faster, and the cost is cheaper when using AI translation tools. But you cannot be sure what can get lost in translation. You might have to end up hiring people to proofread and edit the content that AI translation churns out – ‘a needle in the haystack’ kind of situation.
The higher the stakes, the higher the risks
Take medical translation, for example, the primary stake here could be lives, and the secondary is enormous sums of money. If a medical document is translated incorrectly, the consequences can be dire. Not only could the accuracy of diagnosis and treatment be affected, but there may also be a huge monetary loss for the medical institutions too. Incorrectly translated documents can hamper a brand image or put the brand at risk of legal complications resulting in monetary and brand reputation loss.
It’s not just the medical industry or big businesses; even if you are someone running a startup with seven employees, there can be high stake situations like a meeting for partnership or an online expo that can propel your company 10x forward. Low-quality translation can ruin a great opportunity for you.
Cultural sensitivity and political correctness
In 2023, you cannot get away with offensive or politically incorrect statements. Even if you’re not actively making them with intent, passive mistakes like using sub-par translation or AI tools that cannot localise and sensitise the content for different cultures can be even more damaging. This is especially true in developing countries with diverse cultures and languages.
AI translation tools are not yet equipped to understand a culture’s nuances and sensitivities, so there is a risk of producing incorrect translations that can offend people in other cultures or countries. Professional linguists can help with localisation and ensure that the content is culturally sensitive and appropriate because they understand that language is not just about words; it has a lot to do with culture and context.
Data Protection and Privacy Issues
AI translation tools require vast amounts of data, which is often collected from the internet. This leaves a lot of room for the misuse of personal data by companies offering these services. In addition, the lack of regulation in the field means the data could be shared or sold without the user’s knowledge.
Imagine using an AI tool to translate crucial confidential information, only to find out later that your data has been used without your permission. This could lead to devastating consequences and put you in a highly vulnerable position.
Lack of localisation
AI translation tools cannot understand a particular region’s local context or languages. For example, there might be dialectal variations or slang that AI tools cannot capture, leading to mistranslations and confusion.
Translating a text from one language to another is only the first step of the process; localising the text so that the people of a particular region can understand it is just as essential, and this requires a human touch. Professional translators understand the subtle differences between languages and can help ensure accurate translations.
No personalisation option
If you come to us with a requirement, say you need to translate your marketing content to another language audience, but you don’t want a literal translation of it. Instead, you’d like to localise and personalise the same content for the new audience. Our professional translators can do that for you. Do you want the structure to be changed? Or add in some jokes or cultural references? We can make it happen. Professional translators are adept at understanding your message, target audience, culture and context before translating it into another language.
AI translation tools cannot personalise content according to your needs and preferences as they are limited by the data they have been fed with. This means that whatever comes out of such tools will be generic and lack creativity and a unique tone of voice. This can be highly detrimental for businesses that need to make a good impression on their customers.
In conclusion, AI translation tools have many limitations and drawbacks, so they should not be used as a replacement for human translators, at least not yet. Human linguists are better equipped to handle the nuances of language and cultural sensitivities while also providing personalised translations when needed.
At Translate By Humans, we offer professional translation and localisation services that guarantee high quality and accuracy, with the help of our skilled linguists. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with your translation needs.