March 09, 2021

Will Machines Take Over?

We asked professional translators their thoughts on machines taking over language translation; We got varied responses spanning the entire length of the answer pole.

Machine, Machine translators, Translators, Babelos
Photo by Alex Knight on Unsplash

Hell, YEAH!

For Muslimah, a translator who works with the English – Yoruba language pair, it is a foregone conclusion and only a matter of time before it takes over. In her own words, “This is an expected development as technology keeps improving.”

Read also: The Power of Translation

Not entirely…

Meanwhile, for others like Almustafa, this isn’t even a topic they give headspace to -“ Well, frankly, I really don’t think much about this, because somehow, it will require some human effort somewhere in between.”  He works with English – Hausa – English; English – French language pairs

Definitely NOT!

Tieguomo is pretty much emphatic and certain in his belief – “Machine translation can not replace human translation. Humans will always be needed to proofread and edit machine translation.” He works with several languages including Koyracini, Songhay, Bambara, Pulaar, Hassaniya, Tamashek and French

Raises the BIG QUESTION – ? ? ?

In the final answer for the day, Aly, a Wolof-English translator, takes a different approach. He acknowledges there are advantages to machines taking over; He says, “It’s a good thing because it can make things quick and easier…”  but nonetheless, he goes on to raise the question humanity has been asking for the past few decades – “…Can it replace humans?”

What do you think?

Well, we’ll throw the question back at YOU:

Can machines replace humans?