Happy Translator’s Day, my fellow Translators and Interpreters! On this day, I would like to recognize and commend fellow translators for the work we do and what it requires, and address any layperson’s misconception that a fluent bilingual may as well serve as a qualified translator. That this is not so may be so (painfully) obvious to us, but the confusion persists. Translation and interpretation are very specific skills which, just like any specialized capability, requires certain cognitive and operational faculties. Some of these are: a quick aptitude for understanding complex and diverse subjects; an analytical mind, and extensive research ability — one has to analyze complex information, deduce what additional information they may need, and identify the resources of where and how to find it.
Though machine translation has been around for decades, the most you’ll read about it is the perceived proximity to the mythical “Babel Fish” --an instantaneous personal translation device-- itself ready to replace each and every human translator. The part that gets left out is machine translation's relationship with human translators. For a long time, this relationship was no more complex than post-editing badly translated text, a process most translators find to be a tiresome chore. With the advent of neural machine translation, however, machine translation is not just something that creates more tedious work for translators. It is now a partner to them, making them faster and their output more accurate.