Humans, AI to work as ‘twin translators,' says expert at Beijing conference

By Ji Yuqiao Source:Global Times Published: 2018/11/20 23:48:40

Experts on the research and development of AI translation participate in a panel discussion at the Translators Association of China (TAC) Conference 2018 on Tuesday. Photo: Ji Yuqiao/GT

 In the near future, human and robot translators will be working side-by-side to meet market demand, said an AI translation expert at a conference in Beijing on Tuesday.

AI cooperative translation was one of many ideas discussed during the Translators Association of China (TAC) Conference 2018, where representatives from tech giants such as Google and Tencent participated in panel discussions on the role of AI in the translation industry.

At the conference, Henry He, Chairman of Transn IOL Technology, said he envisions a new ecosystem for the translation industry that involves "twin translators."

"The future of cooperative translation will be 'twin translators,' or a kind of robot that accompanies human translators in their daily lives, like a twin."

He said the robot can collect data to make up for the gap in understanding of human society and culture.

Li Xuechao, Vice President of Tencent Intelligent Platform, echoed He, saying that corporation between human and machine translators can improve the development of the technology while stimulate market demand for precise human translations.

However, human translators are more skeptical.

Alan Melby, vice president of the International Federation of Translators, expressed during a Monday forum that human translators can understand the source, but machines cannot.

"Most machine translators used on a given day are raw machine translations, which are unpredictable and usually of low quality," Melby said.

Hu Guoping, Senior Vice President of AI development company iFLYTEK, addressed those doubts the following day. "Machine translation has already reached College English Test (CET) Band 6 according to tests results," adding the United Nations has said that AI technology can increase the efficiency of document translations by 20 percent.

The conference was held at the Beijing International Convention Center on November 19 and 20.

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