Will a robot take your job? The BBC has developed a tool to figure this out, based on data supplied by Michael Osborne and Carl Frey from Oxford University’s Martin School.
When I first saw this article I was immediately worried. Automatic translations and translation tools abound, and I was afraid I might see translation near the top of the list.
However, I was happy to find the resulting score for translation to qualify it as “not very likely” to be replaced by a robot.
Whenever I think of anything being replaced by a robot, I just imagine my frustration every time I try to get customer service on the phone and am met with an automatic message system. But, apparently receptionists and related professions are high on the list – so now I can just imagine my future frustration tripling every time I will try to check into a hotel staffed by robots!
Although honestly, I suppose this highlights the “humanness” of language. It would be difficult to program a machine to manage nuances in human meaning and language. Just imagine their difficulty with idioms! These would have to be programmed one by one. As I once heard, machines produce machine translations.
Writing and translation are also highly subjective. Two different translators will always produce different translations for the same text. I think the main goal of translation tools in this context is to aim to achieve a certain consistency across translations, especially in use of terminology. Although tools will never serve as a replacement for good, human translations.