Innovation in translation: scaling-up meaning in any language

By Acclaro
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Innovation in Translation: Scaling-up Meaning in Any Language

Scalable, quality translation would be a huge boon to businesses and societies at large. As we’ve documented time and time again, brands interested in growing in the century ahead need to look beyond their home borders for future profits. Demand for talented linguists is rising every year. Without innovative solutions to help speed translation, businesses may face major bottlenecks when it comes to international expansion. So what’s going on with attempts to democratize and scale-up translation power?

Crowd control and machine translation

While we’ve all probably used Google Translate at onetime or another to piece together information on the web, the service is still far short of the quality translations that businesses require to build relationships with new customers. One way to improve the quality of automated translation like Google’s is through human feedback. Essentially, the approach involves submitting subtle corrections and improvements by native speakers in order to help teach algorithms that improve the translation machine. As a part of this effort, Google includes a feature which allows everyday users to rate translations based on accuracy, whether or not they’re helpful, and if they’re offensive. Acclaro and other professional agencies use a similar approach when the situation calls for automated translations. By using a crowd or small group of professional editors, the machine can learn how to produce better, more targeted results.

Slated: texting in translation

While automated translation tools have made chatting with people in other languages somewhat easier, the process is still fairly labor intensive. One innovative approach to solving this problem is Slated’s new iOS 8 keyboard app. Slated performs texting translations in real time, creating the target language message on the fly. It also translates in reverse, allowing you to read and understand replies. Currently the app supports 81 languages. Reviews suggest that it app does a good job keeping basic meaning intact, even if the syntax isn’t dead-on.

Though human linguists are essential to business translation, each new experiment suggests we’re moving closer and closer to connecting the nuanced understanding of the human mind to the power of networked tech.

Photo Credit: Viktor Jakovlev

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