From work to home; and leisure to adventure, the use of technology has changed the way we spend our time on any activity in our lives. The flow of information has become very fast at work and while at home, and communication is becoming technology-dependent by the day. Computers, apps, software and other digital tools have reshaped access to information in the last two decades.
Dubai is no different in experiencing this technological revolution. Dubai is a city where multiple nationalities reside and work; it is impossible not to use technology to communicate with each other. Interpretation and translation services in Dubai are routinely fulfilling their customer’s requests by using technology every day. It is so much prevalent that effective use of technology is a criterion for a good interpretation and translation services provider in the city.
As in other fields, technology has proven to be useful in the field of interpretation as well. Wherein the use of information and communication technologies has given rise to the increasingly adopted trend of machine-assisted interpretations. Remote interpretations and computer-assisted interpretations are also quite prevalent in some industries.
Bridging the language and cultural gap, information and communication technologies are great at converting one language into another, without the fear of having someone’s feelings or thoughts incorporated during the job. However, there are certain issues and challenges which must be kept in mind while merely relying on technology for interpretations. In this blog, we capture only the main challenges and issues which arise with technology usage in interpretations.
Knowledge and translations limitations
Since the rise of simultaneous interpretations & their associated equipment in the early 1920s, interpreters have been greatly able to improve their skill and knowledge base. Interpretations have gone beyond being only a cognitive process of converting while listening to the source language. The terms used at events, the processes of information flow and the addition of new languages as mainstream – all of these demand constant improvements.
In the case of interpreters, preparations have remained a basic element of taking any interpreting job. For instance, to participate in a conference in Dubai, undertaking preparatory research, obtaining and skimming through conference notes, finding suitable translations of most used terms; all are common preparations that interpreters do. Most interpretation services in Dubai maintain this minimum standard of preparation.
However, in the case of technology, the audience will rely on an existing pool of words and algorithms of the software being used. Customized preparations and services will not be possible by only using technology-based or machine-assisted interpretations. One cannot expect to get a new or different definition, find new words or get clarifications using information and communication technologies in real-time interpretations, but with appropriate preparations, these are possible with correctly chosen interpretation services.
Work experience of interpretations services in Dubai
Technology, particularly computer-assisted interpretation technology, has greatly improved the work experience of interpreters. Mainly during the preparations, but also being applicable during the very act of interpretations. Providing analyses of preparatory documentation swiftly or providing options for translation of terminologies over the internet; technology is being used mostly during the preparations by interpretation services.
During events, technology can help in automated terminology extraction, speech recognition or summarization. But again, this undermines the very cognitive and communicative processes which define an interpretation task as bad or good enough.
It sometimes does not matter what technology is being used by an interpreter at a conference; the actual work experience defines the real level of depth the interpreter will produce. It is pertinent to mention that only services provider firms will be able to abide by any professional association codes or applicable ISO standards in interpretations.
Dealing with Information flow
The technology relies on equipment and connections. Distortions in audio or video signals are a constant issue when interpretations are being received remotely. This disrupts the flow of information and thus affects the overall interpretation. Interpreters from the services providers firms are adept at dealing with psychological factors, like fatigue, attention and stress.
Technology, again, is at a loss in identifying and adopting these in a conversation of dialogue-based interpretation work. Similarly, the ease or taking turns to speak and interpret without disturbance is very apparent when interpreters are put to work. This is of particular significance in the case of machine-assisted translations wherein no human involvement exists in interpretations.
It is commonly agreed that errors in interpretation exist in both cases of with or without technology. However, the greatest number of inaccuracies appear when only technology is being used and it fails to adjust to communicative changes during the real interpretation task.
For instance, if a term is not coded, technology will not reproduce it in interpretation, or it will not capture the world references or the speaker’s attitude. As the saying goes, there is a reason the human brain has 300 times more connections in it when compared to all the stars in the galaxy. The technology works best when it is assisting humans and not trying to fully replace them.
Interpretation services adapting with change
Interpretation services are not immune to change and have shown great flexibility in adopting the changes happening around them. Particularly the advances in natural language processing and digitization are being put in use constantly. As said, these are becoming a criterion to be recognized as a cutting-edge translation and interpretation service provider.
The need to adopt technology is sometimes also being dictated by the larger society as well. The obsession with apps and computers sometimes makes it obligatory that a paradigm shift is achieved and improvements are made using technology.
Again, in the case of interpretation services in Dubai, technological advances are greatly in use to improve the quality and productivity of human-based interpretations. Technology when assisting the interpreters in their work by taking on micro-processes works best. We contest that while large-scale adoption of technology might appear attractive, but this will result in de-personification and uniformity in interpretation services.
From a client’s perspective, when services appear undeviating or impersonal, they will always choose the cheapest over professional. Hence, technology and interpretation are to go hand-in-hand and not as a replacement for each other.