Band 9 essay sample | Translation tools have made human translators redundant
The following topic was seen in an IELTS test recently held in Ukraine.
Nowadays it is possible to use computers and mobile phones for automatic language translation, and there is no need for human translators and interpreters. Do you agree or disagree with this statement?
Plenty of translation apps are available for computers and mobile phones. They are quite popular too because many of them are free. This, however, does not mean that they can replace human interpreters or translators because none of the tools available today are able to do justice to their job.
Anyone who has used Google’s translation tools will know why they cannot replace human translators. These tools merely give the meaning of words. They cannot produce sensible sentences. As a result, the meaning often gets lost. Only a human translator can understand the nuances of the language. We have not yet been able to produce apps capable of rivalling humans in this department. Because of this reason, I do not believe that we can do away with human translators.
A piece of text translated by a human translator is not only readable but also enjoyable. The translated work will perhaps fail to create the same impact as the original work. Even so, most of them do justice to the original. Russian and French classics, for example, have been translated into numerous languages. Since few people outside of Russia or France understand these languages, the rest of the world depends on translations of the works of stalwarts like Victor Hugo and Dostoevsky. I admit that their translations were not as good as the original works but they did justice and made characters like Dmitry Karamazov and Jean Val Jean famous all over the world. Had we got these works translated by machines, I am sure no one would have bothered to read them beyond the first page.
Another problem with translation apps is their inability to understand meaning from the context. The same word can have several meanings. If the tool cannot figure out the right meaning, it will create a lot of misunderstanding and confusion. For example, if medical or legal documents are translated by computer apps, the consequences can be disastrous.
To conclude, translation tools that can rival human translators are yet to make their debut. Until then we will need human translators and interpreters.