Automatic translation glasses: competition for human translators?

By / 17 June 2016 / Professional translation

Automatic translation cannot compete with human translation

Professional and, above all, human translators remain key to a real translation. Though translation agencies can be quite costly, a good alternative solution is to use an online platform such as Mytranslation. Through Mytranslation, you can get in touch with human translators who have the necessary skills to deliver a quality translation at a low price.

Automatic translation is not even remotely a serious competitor to human translation. However, gadgets such as automatic translation glasses are a really good addition to tourists’ suitcases worldwide.

The Japanese company NTT has presented a pair of glasses that can automatically translate texts that the user is looking at. This system can namely be used to modify the appearance of a restaurant menu by displaying the names of the dishes in a chosen language.

For tourists, such a device has obvious benefits: rather than having to learn the local language and decipher ideograms on a menu, simply using these automatic translation glasses allows them to see the menu directly in their mother tongue.

However, NTT’s prototype still has many steps to go through before it can potentially be marketed. For now, it is still rather cumbersome and has quite a short battery life. NTT has to work on ways to make it more accessible, focusing on the miniaturization and lightening of the device, and enhancing its battery life to a sufficient level.

Automatic translation can lead to confusion

In terms of translation, automatic translators do not really have any difficulty dealing with simple sentences anymore. Nevertheless, statistical models still fail to solve a number of problems: slang, double meaning, puns, idioms… and so on.

This automatic translation device was designed for simple translations only and is thus not appropriate for the translation of documents such as books or newspapers, due to the limited understanding capacities of its integrated software.

This brings us back to the problem of automatic translations being quite inaccurate, when it comes to elaborate texts. Automatic translation is only useful for short translations such as words, or short sentences made up of simple words.

This automatic translation device will only be released in 2020, for the Summer Olympic Games that will take place in Japan.

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