Originally posted on LinkedIn by Greg Rosner. I saw the phrase “linguistic janitorial work” in this Deloitte whitepaper on “AI-augmented government, using cognitive technologies to redesign public sector work”, used to describe the drudgery of translation work that so many translators are required to do today through Post-editing of Machine Translation. And then it hit me what’s really going on. The sad reality over the past several years is that many professional linguists, who have decades of particular industry experience, expertise in professional translation and have earned degrees in writing, whose jobs have been reduced to sentence-by-sentence clean-up of translations that flood out of Google Translate or other Machine Translation (MT) systems.
Machine Translation has historically been a dirty pair of words in localization. Experienced language professionals fear their own work, complete with nuanced diction and hyper sensitive geographical considerations, will be replaced by the cold, lifeless, robotic output of an algorithm. And considering recent approaches in translation, they’re not far off.