What do we actually talk about when we say AI? The European Parliament describes it as “the ability of a machine to display human-like capabilities such as reasoning, learning, planning and creativity”. So basically, we can say that Artificial Intelligence is the ability for computers to simulate human thought and behavior in real-world environments.
Artificial Intelligence vs. Machine Learning
AI works with deep learning, that imitates our brain’s functionality and allows computers to analyze situations based on data. AI, however, is often used interchangeably with the term machine learning, but they actually refer to different realities. While AI is the field of developing human-like computers and robots, machine learning is a sub-category of AI.
Machine learning is basically a type of computer science which consists in programming a machine to learn from experience. A very celar example of machine learning we see on a daily basis is when the keyboard of our smartphone starts to give us more and more accurate suggestions (machine learning programs the keyboard to learn from our experience.)
In the translation and localization field, AI allows for extremely fast, high-volume translations that are increasingly accurate and precise. AI-enabled translation software that uses machine learning has the ability to self-correct and improve the quality of the translations generated.
AI-enabled translation tools
Many AI-enabled translation tools are capable of translating multiple texts in different languages simultaneously. The most well-known example could be Google Translate, the most accessible AI translation tool on the market nowadays: it offers a simple design where all you have to do is choose your languages, type out the text, and hit “translate.” Another example can be DeepL, one of the AI translation tools consistently growing in popularity, which is used by both businesses and individuals and is known for its intuitive interface and its seamless integration into Windows and iOS.
Most of the language service providers nowadays work together with translation and localization platforms powered by AI. At YOKO, we use state-of-the-art CAT tools together with AI-powered platform for a dynamic and efficient translation and localization process. Along with that, we combine neural machine translation which speeds up the process and permits to translate larger volume of content within the client’s budget. Our technology enables us to reduce time-to-market launches in the most cost-effective manner.
Human touch: the unforgettable
Despite its many advantages, AI is far from infallible and still has many limitations in the field of translation. Indeed, this technology is not able to adapt the translation to the target readership. Nor can it consider local cultural norms and customs, the clients’ expectations, the style, the translation's intention… All basics to create a high quality and accurate translation.
Furthermore, while AI translation can be effective for the most common languages, but it is much less effective for rare languages or dialects for which little data exists. In such cases, the AI will very often have to use English translation as an intermediate step, which may generate significant errors and misunderstandings.
The expertise of a professional translator, knowledge of the local culture, customs, and cultural subtleties remain indispensable. For that, the hybrid method: brings incredibly accurate results: neural translation with post-editing, where AI is combined with human mastery.