Ideas worth translating (2): a web that speaks your language

More from the New York Times on Web translation projects (this time from Leslie Berlin, writing in the Business pages). Projects featured include Lingua, the Global Voices translation project; Google in your language; and TED.

As a professional translator, I have mixed feelings about such projects. Not that I fear for my job:

Machine translations give workable renderings of basic texts, but complicated ideas or phrasings can trip up even the most sophisticated software […] And when it comes to nuance, “machine translation just won’t get you there”

Since 99% of my work is about complicated ideas, phrasings and nuance, I don’t see machines replacing me. Not yet, anyway.

But I take strong issue with a comment by June Cohen, executive producer of TED media:

The volunteers are deeply committed to making the best translation, and they don’t care how long it takes them,” she explains. “There is a passion there that you don’t get from hired guns.”

Deeply committed to good translation and passionate about language and ideas: that describes most of the “hired gun” translators I know. It’s what makes the job worth doing, and worth doing well.

By Marian Dougan

One Response

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Recent Posts