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Subject: The global quest for AI…is it the beginning of the end for translation?
25.09.17

Artificial Intelligence is booming; increasingly, companies are looking for the best talent to help them on their quest for AI, and they’re willing to relocate all over the world to find it.

Even though there is a relative shortage of AI talent, the market is still flourishing, and we’re seeing a significant increase in investment and adoption by enterprises.

It’s certainly a global business; the US may lead the world in AI but some of the best researchers are to be found abroad. It’s an industry that not only has to work across multiple languages, it must deal in them too.

So, what kind of AI are we talking about? According to Forbes, some of the most relevant AI technologies today include;

  • Natural language generation (producing text from computer data).
  • Speech recognition (transcribing and transforming human speech).
  • Virtual agents (everything from simple chatbots to advanced systems that can network with humans).

It’s significant that so many Artificial Intelligence initiatives are concerned with language and the way we communicate with others. And it inevitably begs the question, where AI exists is there still a need for translation? Is Artificial Intelligence set to take over? …and what happens when it goes wrong?

When Facebook created its own language

Recently, Facebook’s own Artificial Intelligence endeavours hit the news, when it was forced to shut down a pair of AI robots after they managed to invent their own language.

Instead of the robots learning how to negotiate by mimicking human bartering and trading against each other, they started to learn their own form of communication instead.

According to researchers, the robots diverged from human language and understandable words, and developed their own language for negotiating by inventing codewords for themselves.

The programme was shut down when the conversation became incomprehensible and the language was deemed useless – it simply wasn’t possible for humans to crack the AI language and translate it back into English.

The need for translators remains.

The case of Facebook proves there is still a long way to go before AI takes away the need for translation and interpretation completely. And of course, there aren’t any bilingual speakers of both AI and human languages…yet!

The pursuit of artificial intelligence however, also carries its own additional need for effective communication – where companies are investing in talent and resources abroad, operations are becoming increasingly multilingual. And in turn, this booming market only highlights the importance of being able to market and sell effectively across different countries and in different languages.

The answer then seems clear; where AI exists, so too does translation. In fact, you could say they work hand in hand.

If you’re in need of professional linguistic help, whether you’re looking to market overseas, develop new technologies, or improve communications within your business, just get in touch with the team here at Sally Walker Language Services – we’d be more than happy to help.