Professional translation in a pre-Singularity world
Professional translation in a pre-Singularity world

Professional translation in a pre-Singularity world - PowerPoint Presentation

marina-yarberry . @marina-yarberry
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Professional translation in a pre-Singularity world - Description

its all about the readers Mikel L Forcada Universitat dAlacant Spain Prompsit Language Engineering Elx Spain European Association for Machine Translation All translation is communication ID: 541615 Download Presentation

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Presentation on theme: "Professional translation in a pre-Singularity world"— Presentation transcript


Professional translation in a pre-Singularity world(it’s all about the readers)

Mikel L.






Language Engineering (


, Spain)

European Association for Machine TranslationSlide2

All translation is communication

Getting the target-language reader to understand the message, and to (re)act as expected —the


of the translation— implies

getting in their shoes





cultural context

social context

Can a machine

get in your shoes

without a model of



Professional translation

Translators are professionals that are good at that,

but variably so


They use:

approximate, often

intuitive models of readers

a reasonable understanding of



sometimes explicitly formulated

often gleaned / read between the lines / guessed

the customer often has only an approximate idea


of purpose? →often a rudimentary approximation: customers

coming back for moreSlide4

Machine translation

Current machine translation

does not have explicit access to a model of the reader

… nor feedback from that model or negotiation with it.

It is therefore

hard to code purpose

(as it includes the reaction of readers).

Current approach (neural, statistical MT): producing

text that works


mimicking good references

(references that presumably worked well in the past)


But who reads raw machine translation?

Professional translators

: most likely to




: being easy to


into text which fulfils the customer’s purpose.Ordinary people: to make sense of a text across a language barrier. Purpose: being easy to understand as is.The requirements of both tasks are different!But ordinary people get used to dealing with noisy, non-native, non-grammatical content. MT’ed content is not an exception.

Readers of machine translationSlide6

PT already being replaced?

Professional translators are

already being replaced

(no need to wait for a Kurzweilian singularity) in some applications.

In fact,

they have never been

(and will never be) p

art of some applications

(e.g. translated web browsing).Slide7

Implicit modelling of readers

MT can get better at using rudimentary ways to guess purpose (which means modelling readers implicitly).

It may replace PT

where intricate reader modelling is not necessary

as behaviour can be taken for granted:

E.g. translated instructions that will be followed by an

obedient reader

that has decided or has been instructed to do so.

In the future, it may actually negotiate and interact with readers to build an approximate model.Slide8

And now, back to the original question…

So, will all translators be replaced before the Singularity?

MT will get much better at implicitly modelling some types of readers / reading situations: PT already gradually being replaced.

MT still has a long way to go when modelling some types of readers / reading situations. PT still needed there.