What do you know about neural machine translation?

neural translation

Have you heard of neural translation? Recently, we've heard a lot about this concept: neural translation. Although now artificial intelligence has come on the scene, it doesn't seem so strange anymore. Translating documents from one language into another is not an easy task. Most translation courses usually last 4 years or more. This gives students time to gain in-depth knowledge of a language and translation techniques, and at the same time absorb the culture of the languages they are studying and acquire essential skills, such as writing, summarising and paraphrasing sentences, words and complete paragraphs.

It's no secret that technology is advancing rapidly, and every new development is more surprising than the last. As with other sectors, technological advancements also affect the world of translation.

Today's translators are now debating whether it is possible to develop a system capable of translating as concisely and as accurately as a professional translator. While some think that a machine will never be able to attain the quality of a human translation, others disagree.

This is where neural machine translation comes in. What is it?

What's the definition of neural translation?

It is a translation system created via a large artificial neural network that imitates human learning, currently known as ‘machine learning’. According to Gereon Frahling, former employee of Google and Managing Director of DeepL: “This service, as with other similar technologies, finds its growth engine in “machine learning” based on artificial neural networks. This recent development, applied in the field of robotics, together with “deep learning” models, enables artificial intelligence to progress quickly and "learn", according to the data entered.

How does neural translation work?

Drawing on previous translations and analysing those that are correct or incorrect, the machine evolves and develops more code, so that the same rules can be applied to future translations.

This means that, with specific and extensive learning, the system could replace human translators. However, Frahling also states: “We expect this to happen within a few years, but we can't be sure yet. Sometimes, however, the context is not enough: professional translators translate according to the client's requirements, the target audience, the specialist field, the purpose of the translation or the product, a specific register, the age of the reader, etc. These are details that a neural network cannot take into account or, for now, overcome.

What about you? What do you think? Do you think that in the future we will resort to machine translation systems to translate our documents?

ATLS is a translation and digital marketing agency with over 20 years' experience. Are you thinking of translating your website or internationalising your business?  Don't hesitate to contact us. Let's talk about translation!

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Written by ATLS

Translation and digital marketing agency
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