Can a machine replace human translation?
Human Translation Services
The solution of this question had not just purely scientific interest, but also was connected with the fact that the need for interstate, international, interlingual contacts began to grow in the modern world. And that meant that fast and high-quality professional translation services were needed. A man always aims to make his work easier. When the first computers had appeared, he was thinking how to use them in this sphere of services. The so-called theory of machine translation developed not really successfully until in the 1970s essential achievements in modeling of artificial brain have begun to appear.
Already by the end of the 1990s technologies of machine translation (MT) have appeared. Those programs, using dictionaries and algorithms, could operate with the whole text, but results were, to put it mildly, modest. A man had to work hard to turn the document to the high quality product. And though MT technologies were improved, but they didn't become really universal tool.
Computer Aided Tools (CAT)
Absolutely other “philosophy” has appeared with development of technology named Translation Memory (TM). If in case of MT all work is performed by the computer, i.e. the automatic machine, then in the second case we speak only about means and tools which do human work easier and quicker. That was rather simple idea - not to automate, but to mechanize process of translating. And the effect of such approach is enormous.
What is the main idea of the Translation Memory’s operation? It is based on unwillingness of man to do the work twice. May be, that in this case laziness appeared the engine of progress. Let us analyze it a bit more detailed. Very often identical fragments appear in large text files. Not to translate them each time, the TM is used. How does it work? If to explain very simply, then imagine the huge database. Phrases in two languages are stored in it, they are named bilingual. Program quickly finds them and offers as a variant, or remembers the option offered by the specialist. Certainly, in two sentences it is easy to explain how this technology works, but you must realize that the software is very sophisticated. It can be said, that the Translation Memory simulates operation of human brain, its neural connections. It analyzes complex databases, using the branching algorithms. In fact, it is able to find other forms of the word or phrases with other order of words. The program itself finds regularities and interrelations. It can also calculate percent of similarity of fragments of the text.
Translation Services Company
What is the sequence of steps? As a rule, such programs have the text editor with two pop-ups. One is for the original fragment, the other – for the final. You enter the portion (words, phrases) and the similar one is been searching in the database. If the match is complete, the result appears in the second window, if not – the most matching text appears with the percentage of matches. The expert can approve the offered option, edit it or make a new variant. Then the fragment is sent to the memory, thereby the database is being updated constantly. Moreover, bilinguals are becoming accessible to others.
The translation services companies have a great interest in the Translation Memory. Usually they provide business-, medical-, engineering translation services, in other words, they work with documents in which there can be many repeated parts. TM becomes the right hand for professional agencies.