Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Oh dear bad news for translators

News here of a French financial newspaper using automatic translation "and a bit of human tweaking" to produce something that AFP refers to thus:

A leading French business newspaper is launching a multi-lingual version of its website using automatic translation, dispensing with journalists but producing often comic results.
I attended a course on translation memory and automatic translation recently and I know that it's important that translators do not dimiss this new technology, things have progressed amazingly recently. However it fascinates me how we want to procude "other" languages (in my area it is normally languages other than English, in other areas it means English) on the cheap. Translation has always been on the interface between the technical and the poetic, between craft and creativity. So does badly translated prose give good "presence" to all these newspapers and websites that want to find readers in other languages? I think not but technology is advancing, maybe I'll be out of a job soon ...