People are much more connected today than they’ve ever been in entire human history. This connection is made possible by advanced communication systems. Computer and cellphone applications create an abundance of convenience. Only a few decades ago, the concept of audio translation powered by artificial intelligence would’ve seemed like the stuff of science fiction.
Technology giants, like Google, have turned such abstract concepts into reality. Today, audio translation enables communication that would otherwise be difficult.
Imagine visiting a foreign country and not being able to understand a single sentence in the local dialect. With a few taps on your phone screen, instant translation software can help you decipher mundane texts like road signs. You can even have a cursory discussion about the weather with a native of that country. All that, thanks to applications that can enable audio translation!
Audio translation means converting a voice recording from one language (source language) to another (target language). Such conversions can occur with the aid of a human translator or software. Persons that perform simultaneous translations have to be experts in both the source and target languages.
Google is a household name when it comes to instant online text translations. Though such translations can be helpful, they are unfit for professional translation jobs. The algorithms of Google Translate do not necessarily follow grammatical rules. This flaw can make their translations sound unnatural, even to learners of a new language.
Admittedly, audio translation has experienced tremendous advances in functionality and complexity over the past decade. It is not difficult to imagine seemingly futuristic translation capabilities. Voice-activated and self-driven vehicles, for example, may become a reality sooner than we expect. Phones and other gadgets that respond to human voices and automatic translation applications that can predict human speech patterns with remarkable accuracy will become the norm.
However, such futuristic technology is still far removed from the current reality. Machine learning and neural network technology attempt to find solutions to the challenges associated with audio and text translation; any audio translation task for professional purposes will have to rely on human translators.
With the advent of cars that can(almost) drive themselves, many people imagine that tech giants, including Google, would’ve invented an accurate imitation of a talking robot. Supercomputers do an impressive job of powering artificial technology to perform incredible tasks. Unfortunately, audio translation is not among them. It’s common for language translations performed by machines to have glaring grammatical errors like improper use of an idiomatic expression. The tone of the text or audio in the source language may become garbled to the point of trivializing the whole translation process.
It’s crucial to mention that all the hype surrounding audio translation technology is mainly due to misleading marketing tactics. Marketers will often sing the praises of automatic translators just to promote their products and (purportedly perfect) services. Translation software powered by supercomputers isn’t worth the astronomical costs involved in using them.
This is not to utterly decry automatic translation capabilities. As numerous tourists can attest, Google Translate can simplify numerous language barrier issues faced in a foreign country. However, such technology still has a long way to go.
There’s no doubt that human translation is more suited to professional endeavors. Translation of audio from the source language to the target language involves using idioms, grammar conventions, and context. Context is what most separates human translators from technology. Supercomputers and all other forms of artificial intelligence have yet to discern contextual subtleties and speech patterns.
Human translation involves trained linguists, usually native speakers of the source language.
Finding the Right Balance.
While Google and particular applications can translate audio files, their limitations make them unreliable for professional translation projects.
Finding the right mix between technology and human translators can significantly increase the chances of near-perfect audio translation.
Some companies do create ready-made audio files for marketing campaigns and businesses. Such projects are usually rush jobs that prioritize speed. A crucial part of audio translation involves localization, whereby the translated audio content is tailored for specific purposes. Such purposes can include academic content for universities and other learning institutions, promotional content for companies in select industries, or raising awareness about a prevalent issue.
All in all, Google can translate an audio file just like numerous other applications out there. As a customer looking for a good quality audio translation, consider reasons for using translation services at all. Professional endeavors require accurate audio translation, the kind of accuracy that Google and other technology platforms have yet to perfect.