The Machines are Coming

Posted on April 4, 2017 By

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In late 2016, Google and Microsoft changed the landscape of automated translation by introducing the use of neural machine translation (NMT). Initially launched using a small number of languages — including Simplified Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Arabic, and German, among others — the technology now includes far more languages, with progress over the past year surpassing improvements in automated translations over the past ten years.

NMT involves a large neural network that ‘learns’ to translate text as whole sentences, rather than statistical fragments. It produces more natural and conversational translations of fiction, which is a significant breakthrough. In business, the ramifications are no less groundbreaking too, and MYL is working with Google’s and Microsoft’s NMT technologies to develop translations from English to Simplified Chinese that are highly editable. This has been a boon to our Clients in financial research and property research, where content is often highly structured and does not change significantly over time.

Other key benefits that our Clients derive from NMT are increased cost-efficiency and competitiveness.

Because [it needs] less post-editing time,” says Hennessy Ng, MYL’s Senior Manager for Quality Assurance (Translation), “NMT gives us and our Clients a powerful opportunity to secure competitive leverage. It boosts turnaround volume and time in a globalized world where information is a key player.

NMT has produced some mixed feelings, however, among translators. Ruslan P., one of MYL’s top translators, says: “Translators have been discussing the concept of NMT for a while now. Our attitude resembles a mix of fear and anticipation of something revolutionary and new… [And] there’s this one question in the air: Will technology replace qualified translators? Will it take away our jobs?”

For MYL, the answer is no. In fact, because of our rapidly developing customer base in this emerging area, we are in immediate need of experienced translators. If you are skilled in translating from English to Simplified Chinese, experienced in areas of finance and property, and interested in learning post-editing skills, this could be a great opportunity for you. Please get in touch with Ronald To at [email protected] to get more information — and move your career to a new level.

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