Technology may not replace human translators, but it will help them work better
TALK into your phone in any of the big European languages and a Google app can now turn your words into a foreign language, either in text form or as an electronic voice. Skype, an internet-telephony service, said recently that it would offer much the same (in English and Spanish only). But claims that such technological marvels will spell the end of old-fashioned translation businesses are premature.
Software can give the gist of a foreign tongue, but for business use (if executives are sensible), rough is not enough. And polyglot programs are a pinprick in a vast industry. The business of translation, interpreting and software localisation (revising websites, apps and the like for use in a foreign language) generates revenues of $37 billion a year, reckons Common Sense Advisory (CSA), a consulting firm.