Dear members of the FIT family, we are very interested to learn how – and to what extent - you, as translators, engage with technology when you perform your daily duties (carry out your translation tasks). Please share your thoughts with us and voice your concerns and frustrations, but also your joys. You can also tell us what you think about machine translation.

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  • Published: 7 months ago on 9 May 2017



    In my view machine translation it makes my work quick as I translate easy. for instance, when i am using Autshumato ITE i am also develop my own glossary for future so that my pace of translating will be fast. Both human and machine scientifically are directly proportional ,entailing that they need each other.

  2. Christo Snyman says:

    Using platforms such as and Google can be very useful and much quicker than physically opening the dictionary lying next to you. But as in the case of the dictionary, you have to think about the options the platform gives you and decide on a proper, appropriate solution for your text, based on your feel for the source and target languages and the type of text you’re dealing with.

    If by machine translation you mean back-translation, this can also be useful to ensure that no elements of meaning have been lost. But, as in the case of dictionaries, CAT tools and other platforms, you cannot translate without the “human intervention element”.

  3. Jacques van den Berg, Ph.D. says:

    We as Afrikaans translators represent the youngest language in the world which exists next to one of the oldest and most developed languages in the world, English. For the past several decades we had to find countless equivalents for English words and phrases in a tsunami of new technology with all its accompanying terms. Unlike translators in Dutch in the Netherlands, we did not simply incorporate English words into our language, avoiding Anglicisms.
    A translator using machine translator will not remotely have the translation and linguistic experience I have, in that I had to look up words on a large scale in a very laborious fashion to reach the levels of expertise at which I am operating. Machine translation can never match the subtle linguistic skills I have, translating according to the demands of different audiences. Extremely subtle creative skills are required in e g advertising, which are mainly creative skills, which no machine can acquire–not even humans can acquire these skills even after they have been doing run-of-the mill translations for half a century. In post-graduate translator schools they only touch on this area near the end of the course–they do not have the skills themselves to impart to others.

  4. Salome Smith says:

    I love my Trados software! Yes, machine translation can be terribly incorrect, but I find it easier to fix the machine translation than to do everything from scratch. I can’t imagine translating without my software!

  5. Florence Helluy says:

    I think it is transforming our jobs, from translators to revisers/editors of machine-translated texts. Because we are always more pressed for time and increased productivity, quality is going down and, to take the example of French-English translation, we end up with a lot of Frenglish. The sentences are not necessarily bad or wrong but poor, and we’ll end up losing linguistic diversity.
    Machine translation fits in the output-intensive orientation of a logic geared mainly to cutting costs. Never mind quality, job satisfaction or proper communication.

    Yet, machine translation is regularly improving and it can be a great help, particularly with technical, repetitive texts, or very straighforward texts.

  6. Isabel Lira says:

    Hi, having started my translation career on the late (3 years ago, after 15 years in sales and marketing), I found Word tedious and started using Wordfast pretty much straight away as I needed a tool to ensure consistency of terminology on some large projects, and haven’t looked back since. In many ways, using translation tools compensate for my lack of academic background in translation in terms of speed of work and consistency. I am now looking at using a voice-recognition software to increase my output, so I can tackle urgent projects without having to sacrifice my evenings and weekends.
    Machine translation will never replace human translation in my eyes, but for basic translation (i.e. emails), it serves its purpose. The companies that are happy to get edited machine-translated texts would probably only be happy to pay for low-quality high-output translators, whose quality is on par with MT.
    Decent translators will always be needed, they might just have to adopt new technologies and give themselves an “upgrade” now and then. 😉

  7. Sue Richardson says:

    I have been working as a freelance translator for more than 20 years. Since the advent of technology, my rate of production has improved enormously.
    I consult several different on-line dictionaries and glossaries, although I have also compiled my own subject-specific vocabulary files. It makes a big difference to be able to instantly check several sources to ensure that the correct term or accurate translation is used.
    Without technology, I would not be able to work as I do, anywhere there is an internet connection, which has made such a difference. I seldom if ever meet my clients and colleagues, yet I have a wide supportive network, which would not be possible without the many advances in technology.
    Machine translation has been suggested more than once by various friends and colleagues, yet I am reluctant to commit to it. Mainly, I believe, because of the many occasions I have had to proof-read and edit documents which were machine-translated, and much of the meaning has been lost, or the sense of a piece missed altogether. For straight and simple texts, to give the basic sense of a document, it may work well, but languages have so many different nuances, and I feel that a machine cannot possibly pick up the subtleties and convey the true meaning.

  8. Marilyn Sass says:

    Technology certainly has made my professional life easier: Google (Translate) is my best friend, although I do consult the one or other (hardcopy) bi-lingual dictionary. Machine translations save a lot of time, thus enabling me to take on more projects, and I regularly search the Internet to check on certain facts. Yet, human intervention is imperative, so I never solely rely on what the computer gives me and always use my own (or collective) knowledge, especially when it comes to fine tuning.

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