Everything Translation
Everything Translation

AI Translation: The Future of Language Learning

The language barrier is no longer the hurdle that it once was. In fact, AI translations are making it easier than ever before for people to connect and communicate across the globe. AI translation also has many business applications, making everyday communications with international teams incredibly simple.

The relationship between AI and language learning is also becoming more pronounced. In the past, anyone looking to master a new language would have to invest considerable time and money into group classes or one-on-one tutoring sessions. Although conventional education is still important for anyone looking to achieve full fluency, language learning is becoming far easier thanks to AI and language translation machines. 

The role of AI in the future of translation

AI translation has many exciting applications for the future. Thanks to increasing levels of accuracy and reliability, AI can be used to facilitate the real-time translation of large volumes of the source text. 

What’s more, machine learning and translation technology can be used to support the work of human translators. For in-house teams struggling with urgent deadlines and increasing workloads, AI translation can help boost productivity and automate more basic translation tasks. 

We have a long way to go before software can produce natural language translation with 100% levels of accuracy. However, future innovations and rapidly evolving artificial intelligence are making AI translation increasingly practical for everyday communications. 

The limits of AI and translation

At the moment, AI translations are a great option for those who need to translate huge volumes of content quickly. However, even the best language translation machines only go so far when it comes to capturing context. In fact, the most advanced translation technology still struggles when it comes to understanding the nuances of language and emotive aspects. 

Ultimately, AI-powered translations can’t be depended on to produce compelling content for marketing and advertising purposes. While the bare bones of a text can be translated, a human translator will need to step in to ensure the final text is captivating and persuasive.

How language learning and AI can be used together

Nowadays, we can also access AI translations thanks to a huge array of free apps and user-friendly websites. While effective at delivering rapid translations, these solutions are no match for conventional language learning. That being said, they can be used to support the language learning process.

For example, take AI language tutor app Quazel. Users can speak into their microphones or type in the chat to have an unscripted, dynamic conversation with AI to practice their conversation skills in 21 supported languages.

AI translation technology can’t be used to replace a teacher, but it can be used as an invaluable learning tool. For starters, AI provides language learners with an exhaustive vocabulary to get to grips with. Standard language learning tends to rely on rigid syllabuses and printed materials. Learning from these materials is often time-consuming and tedious. Translation software powered by AI provides learners with a streamlined alternative, allowing them to identify the right words and phrases almost instantaneously. 

Free translation services like Google Translate also allow students to try out what they’ve learned. Prospective polyglots can access online materials in the language they’re looking to master, then use AI to fill in any knowledge gaps. This can help keep learners engaged in between conventional classes and embrace immersion as a study aid. 

When someone isn’t in a face-to-face learning environment, it’s difficult to know if they’re on the right track with language learning. Worried about correct word order and sentence structure? Having trouble perfecting pronunciations? AI language learning makes it easier to fine-tune these fundamentals. What’s more, it allows aspiring learners to use course and class time to target more challenging aspects of mastering a new language. 

Will AI language translation machines ever replace human translators?

Even as AI advances, it’s unlikely to replace conventional language learning and human translators entirely. Regardless of how much translation technology evolves, languages themselves are what’s important. They rely on specific grammar rules and nuanced structures. Ultimately, even the most accessible language families are fairly abstract. The human factor is always going to play a significant role in language learning. 

The same logic applies to the translation sector. AI-powered translations are increasingly reliable, but there’s still a margin for error that necessities the input of human translators. At a bare minimum, proofreaders are required to review any machine translations. Depending on the end user, extensive editing may be called for. AI language translation may lighten the load for human translators, but it’s merely changing the way translators work, rather than pushing them out of a job. 

How human translators can utilize AI machine translation

AI translation technology is no match for the human brain. However, it can be called upon to handle more rudimentary translation tasks. This frees up human translating teams to focus on more time-intensive and involved tasks. 

Translation software can often be used to handle the first round of translations. This lets humans enter the fray later, focusing on things like sentence structure and grammar rules. This not only allows translators to work on other tasks but also reduces the chances of them suffering from fatigue and burnout. When it comes to big volumes and high-stakes assignments, the result is that human translator teams are less likely to make mistakes. 

AI is becoming more intuitive, with translation software becoming far more reliable as time goes on. This is only going to make the life of a human translator easier. 

Neural machine translation (NMT) explained

Neural Machine Translation (NMT) is a type of deep learning system designed for artificial intelligence.  NMT works by allowing the translation system access to an exhaustive pool of reference materials. This material is then used to create advanced algorithms that result in faster and improved AI translations. 

NMT is one of the most reliable translation solutions around. In some cases, machine translation carried out using NMT can deliver results that are 90% accurate. As NMT technology advances, expect accuracy levels to inch even closer to 100%. 

AI has yet to negate the need for human translators. However, it’s certainly changing the way that a typical translator works. Machine learning and translation software can now be used to tackle first drafts, with human editors and proofreaders stepping in to oversee later stages of the process. 

AI and language learning

As the world becomes increasingly globalized, real-time translations are becoming a staple of everyday industries. Streaming services are now making it easier for international audiences to access media they might not have been able to in the past. AI language translation can help speed up subtitling tasks, but second-rate software tends to suffer when it comes to capturing context and conveying emotive meaning. 

AI has also made real-time translation readily accessible to everyone. Translation services powered by AI can provide quick translations for checking key facts and figures in documents. Although native speakers will typically need to be engaged to proof more important documents, real-time translation services are making it easier for companies to think globally. 

Even a modest operation can now start thinking at an enterprise level, with few restrictions when it comes to connecting with new markets and partners in foreign territories. 

How does AI provide translations in real-time?

Language translation machines have come a long way in recent years. Historically, translation technology worked by turning spoken speech into text that would then be translated into a target language. Today, language translation software works differently. 

Real-time machine translation uses AI to look for patterns in spoken inputs. It also uses deep learning and neural networks to capture context and other language nuances. 

AI brings many benefits to real-time translations beyond delivering faster results. AI ultimately ensures that translated text represents the meaning and intent of the original material, rather than a word-for-word translation. 

Even free-to-use language translation machines like Google Translate and DeepL can provide reliable results in a matter of seconds. Single words or simple sentences, as well as entire web pages and documents, can be translated almost instantaneously. 

Are AI translations completely reliable?

Nobody can argue against how increasingly reliable AI translations are becoming. However, we’re not yet at a point where AI translations can wholly replace human translators. 

With a typical language translation machine, accuracy is incredibly high. However, if something’s not 100% perfect, it can’t be relied upon for high-stakes communications. 

In the international business sector, there’s no room for misunderstandings. What’s more, diplomatic channels need to have a clear grasp of the nuances of foreign languages to maintain successful correspondence. 

In many cases, AI language learning software can be used to provide a reliable first draft of translations. However, face-to-face exchanges and critical communications still need to be managed and overseen by human translators and expert linguists. 

The future of translation, AI, and language learning

AI is redefining the language learning sector and the translation industry as a whole. However, even the best solutions can only be called upon for relatively reliable translations of basic texts. At the end of the day, human translators still have a key part to play in the translation process. 

Do you rely upon machine learning and AI to handle high-volume translations? Make sure you’re employing human translators to provide your content with a final polish before it’s forwarded to clients and customers. At BLEND, we offer first-rate localization, translation, and post-editing services. With thousands of professional linguists working in more than 120 languages, we can help you tailor your content to a truly global audience. Want to discover more? Get in touch today.

author post

Corinne Sharabi

Corinne is the Social Media and Content Lead at BLEND. She is dedicated to keeping global business professionals up to date on all things localization, translation, language and culture.


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