Posted by: patenttranslator | October 28, 2012

You Say Tomato, I Say Translation – Prediction of New Trends in the Translation Business

It is likely that our grandchildren – if they survive climate changes, droughts and floods, radiation emanating for many centuries from many new Fukushimas, which will be taking place this time around mostly in Europe and America as hurricanes and earthquakes cut off power supply to nuclear power plants, and incredibly stupid TV reality shows (most of them will contain real sex scenes, because otherwise, who would watch it?), which alone are likely in a few decades to drive many survivors of assorted disasters and radioactive food to suicide – will no longer remember what strawberries and tomatoes used to taste like when they still had a taste, i.e. before genetic engineering turned our fruits and vegetables into yet another bland and tasteless profit center for multinational corporations.

Because I still remember what fruits and vegetables used to taste like when I was a kid, I know that the pretty red and round thing that I bring home from the supermarket does not taste much like a tomato. At the most, it tastes like a 0.15 ~ 0.25% aqueous solution of a tomato essence, if there were such a thing. Do my children know that? I am not sure. I must ask them next time they stop by here, which will be probably on Christmas. Will their children know that something has been lost in their world? Probably not.

I know that I should not really worry about things like that because fortunately for me, I will not be here anymore in this bland and tasteless world. But it still bothers me. There must be something wrong with me.

********************

In the near future, most translators will be forced by market forces to adopt the latest tools in the ever expanding arsenal of amazing translation tools, including machine translation that anticipates the meaning of the sentence in the original language and overrides the intent of human translators to ensure that every translation consists of repeatable units that can be efficiently reused in translation memories and other translation and writing tools. It is much more cost effective this way.

Some books will have to be rewritten even in the original language anyway in this brave new world to delete offensive words and concepts from them – for instance the books of Mark Twain. Once the rewritten books have been efficiently translated with new translation memories and thus purged of offensive words and concepts, people in other countries will also be able to enjoy newly translated editions of old books efficiently assembled from highly repeatable units, without being unnecessarily exposed to dangerous words and ideas.

It is kind of a shame that just like nobody will remember what strawberries used to taste like, nobody will remember what people like Mark Twain were originally saying in their books. But progress is unstoppable. Onward and upward!

Ray Bradbury was getting close in Fahrenheit 451 to what the new world will look like. Except that there will be no need to burn books. Once all books have been edited and translated with the latest translation tools, they will not be dangerous anymore, and Google will then make them available for free to people who don’t mind watching highly targeted and personalized advertising and commercials while they read books.

In a few years from now, most translations will be based on edited machine translations anyway, because it is simply much cheaper to translate in this manner. It will be cheaper because there will be no need to use real translators, who tend to be relatively expensive, for translating. Just about anybody will be able to translate with the new translation tools. It will be only slightly more complicated than making a copy on a copy machine.

With instant access to the latest translation memories, MT and other translation tools, most post-editors of MT, formerly known as translators, will be able to produce tens of thousands of post-edited words per day. In any case, most people who used to work as human translators will have another job. Since post-editing will pay next to nothing, most of them will move into a different field in the service sector and become waiters, waitresses, flight attendants, etc.

Since everything will be translated with the latest technology almost instantly, there will be almost no need to learn foreign languages, especially among people who speak the two dominant languages on our planet in the near future – Chinese and English.

True, some people, especially people who live in tiny countries and speak a funny language like Dutch or Czech, will still be learning foreign languages, but mostly only Chinese and English (to enhance their job promotion prospects).

Most things will still be translated with translation memories and post-edited machine translations will be introduced into other major languages on this planet, such as German, and Spanish, but not as much into French because neither Chinese nor English speakers like the French too much and they will be the ones deciding what should be translated.

 ***********

 Next time when you taste a tomato or a strawberry over your kitchen sink and realize that it tastes like a piece of rubber, I hope you will remember my vision of the future world … which is in fact already here.

The problem with progress, the highly profitable kind, at least for some, is that it is often so tasteless.

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Responses

  1. [...] It is likely that our grandchildren – if they survive climate changes, droughts and floods, radiation emanating for many centuries from many new Fukushimas, which will be taking place this ti…  [...]

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  2. [...] It is likely that our grandchildren – if they survive climate changes, droughts and floods, radiation emanating for many centuries from many new Fukushimas, which will be taking place this ti…  [...]

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  3. [...] "The problem with progress, the highly profitable kind, at least for some, is that it is often so tasteless."  [...]

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  4. Well said and sadly put.
    Like you, I will not need to suffer the future, or יthe deterioration of our present, but as you wrote, some of this future is already here.
    Grim as it seems, I must put one of your comments into perspective, only to make it grimmer: you say translators will “move into a different field in the service sector and become waiters, waitresses, flight attendants, etc.” – I’m not sure there will be that much other work to move into, as other professions become extinct.
    While I agree that most people who will work will do so in providing one service or another, I doubt there will be enough work to go around.

    I won’t go into it here, about changing this grisly outlook to a brighter one, suffice it to say that we the people have the power to bring about change – we just need to find the switch that turns this power on.

    I well enjoyed the read!

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    • “suffice it to say that we the people have the power to bring about change – we just need to find the switch that turns this power on. ”

      Right. But uninformed, unwashed masses who are kept stupid by the media have no power whatsoever.

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  5. I have to agree with Abwords – most of us will have to offer a service, as many job types/professions will become extinct.

    I also believe that most people will move back to the country (if land will be available!) and live off the earth like we used to in the good old ”green” days. More and more people are moving back to the country here in the UK and I never thought that that would be my dream too. I was born and bread in the city and I’m only 29, but all I want at the moment is a tiny cottage with a tiny garden and a few organic veggies here and there.

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  6. Cheer up, Steve!

    Be happy that the future is here and we are still alive with rubber tomatoes that are to change the genetical wiring of our descendants, so that they will find something else tasteful. (Hopefully not the MT spew!)

    Chinese would say to this “兒孫自有兒孫福” which means “Children and grandchildren will find happiness of their own.” We don’t have much influence on it, anyway.

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  7. Thanks, Wenjer, for giving me an idea for the closing music video in this post.

    I knew I could rely on you!

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    • Ha, I thought you would choose Hakuna Matata from The Lion King. :o)

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  8. Great video – they are always wonderful! Thanks.

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  9. That is only if translators keep on relying on intermediaries. I recommend every translator to forget about intermediaries and to contact end-customers directly. End of the problem. Life is simple when you try. :-)

    P.S. This is the recommendation of the Belgian Chamber of Translators too, I am not inventing anything here, just in case…

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  10. The reason why most monkey eat only low-hanging bananas, although they are green and not that tasty, is that they can’t figure out how to reach the nice, yellow, tasty bananas on the top of the tree.:)

    Like

  11. [...] It is likely that our grandchildren – if they survive climate changes, droughts and floods, radiation emanating for many centuries from many new Fukushimas, which will be taking place this ti…  [...]

    Like

  12. [...] It is likely that our grandchildren – if they survive climate changes, droughts and floods, radiation emanating for many centuries from many new Fukushimas, which will be taking place this ti…  [...]

    Like

  13. [...] You Say Tomato, I Say Translation – Prediction of New Trends in the Translation Business Review of the presentation “An Introduction to Aviation and Air Travel” Lesson 45: Slides and handouts on online marketing and social media for translators Lesson 46: 10 things a freelance translator should do at least once to be noticed A Risk Translation Services Companies Don’t Want to Take in the Sourcing Process Translating with and without medical background – a retrospective study Translation Rates Go Down as the Volumes of Translation Work Go Up Things Freelancers Do that Drive Translation Services Companies Mad Want more translation clients? A refreshingly simple way to find them 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Becoming a Freelance Translator Benefits of becoming a member in American Translators Association Internet Marketing for Translators – Part 1: Websites, blogs, profiles The expat approach to translation: When not to translate a word Recap & Review: 53rd Annual ATA Conference in San Diego Teaching videogame translation: interview with Daniel Stein Reporting from Brussels – Translation Studies Days, part 2 Working with interpreters – Very much lost in translation… Crowdsourced translations in video-games: do they work? Ten Concepts That Are Surprisingly Difficult to Translate Time and task management (post-conference thoughts) Showcasing MT Technology: Day two of AMTA2012 The latest issue of the Interpreter’s Launch Pad is out! 2lingual.com lets you search in multiple languages Do we respect our own languages? Part 5: Basque Busted Keynotes: the First Day of AMTA 2012 First Steps in Literary Translation — A Course Translation Blog Picks – 06 November 2012 Two Commonplaces: News from ALTA Fifteen helpful Google search operators Presenting at tekom & What I Learned Glossary options for literary translation Highlights from the ATA Conference Contrat-cadre, les points de vigilance On Starting Early vs Procrastinating On technical degree and localization Why Overworking Doesn’t Work How Not to Become a Translator Institutionalization of a neologism Requirements to be a translator The Longest Word In English Corporate finance glossary Who’s afraid of the BDÜ? Bien facturer pour être payé Never Say Never Again Translation conference Briticisms in AmE [...]

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