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How is AI changing the online translation industry?

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AI has become something of a buzzword in business circles in recent years. From helping people automate customer service to supporting the collation and analysis of big data, AI is now used across a wide variety of business environments. The online translation industry is one such environment. Below, we’ll look at how AI is affecting the translation industry and how humans are still needed in certain circumstances, such as translation services in Sydney that aim to connect with local customers.

AI as a boon for translation services in Sydney

AI is already complementing the local knowledge and the linguistic expertise delivered by translation services in Sydney. One of the main ways that AI is affecting the translation industry is that people are now using AI enhanced translation services to try to handle professional documents. While AI translation can help in conversational settings or perhaps for individuals browsing the net and needing to understand a web page, the fact that such online services can leave errors in the text means it’s not ideal for business use. Such mistakes, when they happen at the last minute, right before the document has to be used, mean that many businesses then need to turn to traditional translation services to rescue their work, as a ‘post-editing’ service.

This is a service where translators edit botched translations that were completed by AI-powered translation technology. In a professional setting, translation errors can result in anything from misrepresented products and improper instructions to issues with contracts, if the translation is poor enough. A human translator with specialized knowledge can make a pass with a fast turnaround to ensure accuracy. It’s a whole new field of service. And because this post-editing work is delivered online, that can mean a quick turnaround to meet last-minute needs.

It’s estimated that in 2021, the increase in AI usage across business will create 6.2 billion hours in worker productivity. It is certainly helping some translators to become more productive, as they blend AI-enhanced translation tools with their own personal skills in order to translate faster and more accurately.

Translation services in Sydney can also make use of AI in other ways, just as businesses in other sectors can. AI can help automate elements of the customer service process, for example. 85% of customer service interactions in 2020 were responded to by chatbots. That’s AI in action across a huge range of industries, including supporting providers of translation services to interact with their customers.

Where AI hasn’t affected translation

One area of translation that AI hasn’t been able to help or replicate is the shaping of documents to meet particular local needs. For translation in Sydney, for example, that’s the part of the translation process that makes sure the document reads naturally to local viewers. This can entail:

  • Updating photos so that they represent local landmarks or models from the target demographic
  • Changing details such as address formats, date formats and currency symbols
  • Making sure nothing is inadvertently offensive in the new culture
  • Updating things to fit local regulations in the new market, like privacy laws or information disclosure policies
  • Keeping an eye on the message and tone so that it stays the same from culture to culture as closely as possible

We’re not (yet) at the point where a machine can look at a message and know how a human would interpret it. It still takes a professional eye to know how a message or product would look in a new culture.

Why AI can’t help with hyper-local translation

AI excels at knowing how messages are translated generally from language to language. However, hyper-local customs may still elude AI translation as part of translation services in Sydney.

As an example, a translation service in Sydney might have to update marketing documents for a client, to ensure they suit local audiences. Certain images might be updated or re-designed in the document itself to represent local landmarks. AI-powered translation services just don’t cover this kind of task yet. Not are they able to catch references to local sports teams, actors, politicians and so forth. Local slang and the use of Australian English may also have to be taken into account while updating documents.

As another example, certain websites might want to target the local Sydney market to bring in customers from the area. That would require a translator working through official translation in Sydney to have a high level of knowledge. They would have to use local keywords to optimize the website for capturing local searches while creating text that reads naturally to people in the area.

While AI has meant some great increases in productivity, and even the chance to offer some new services, professional translation services in Sydney still benefit from the touch of professional, human linguists.

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