Machines and Memory

Machines and Memory

Computers are now the norm, and we are asking them to do more and more of what are considered daily, repetitive or mundane tasks.

Arhats from LiJiang China © G Raisman
Taming the dragon

When it comes to translation, it's a grey area, however, as machine output is only as good as its input.  It is probably indisputable that our brains are by far the most complex machines we will ever encounter, and it is probably almost impossible, therefore, to transfer the flexibility and mind-twisting abilities of our brains to a machine.  

This means that the use of machines in translation will, for the foreseeable at least, be a tool to aid humans in the translation process, rather than a replacement.

For professional translators, CAT (computer-aided translation) tools play two key roles:  

  1. Machine translation itself, which requires editing
  2. Translation memory, which enhances the translation process by linking previously-translated materials with the current text

Both roles are continuing to gather momentum in their importance and application within the translation world, and it is essential to understand both the benefits and the limitations of machine-assisted translation in order to apply it successfully into a professional translation environment.

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