Say What?


on audiovisual and literary translation, subtitling, and the French & American film industries

Computers 2, Translators 1

In the ongoing debate within the translator community about our place in the world and co-existing with technologies that might or might not supplant us, the ATA recently cited the human/virtual contestant Jeopardy! match as “testimony” to our professional relevance.  Frankly, I think they and we translators can do much better.

Watson might or might not be a watershed in artificial intelligence (AI), depending on several different sources.  What is certain if not inevitable is change–and AI represents that.  Translators, like all living organisms, and their businesses, can and must adapt, perhaps morphing into experts with even greater and more abundant specializations.  Which computers, taking on more automated and tedious tasks, would allow us to do, and frankly be something we might be a bit more grateful for.

Filed under: divers, translation, , , ,

Truth in advertising

Translators have much in common with actors, passing themselves off as someone other than who they really are:  channels, conduits, from one linguistic shore to another.

As I mulled over my next post during the past month (blissfully distracted by business), I was considered for a large translation project, and contacted by a Francophone peer seeking work.  In the former case, as I have learned the hard way that if a new client puts a premium on bargaining, then ultimately our collaboration was not meant to be, and this one was not.  In the latter instance a peer contacted me seeking work into English, despite the fact that they are French.

Yet who’s to say if someone can or can’t translate?  The final product is an excellent gauge, of course it can vary wildly.  And given American English’s  intrinsic unruliness, perhaps it’s logical, even understandable translation and translators are not as well understood, respected or regulated here as in other cultures.

Credentials and training are always important, no matter what the profession, but as with actors, relationships more than matter.  And in translation, certainly the business of it, one of the first things I learned is that relationships are critical.

Filed under: French translation, translation