Best Practices

Is AI really taking jobs from human translators?

Wise translators must learn how to navigate the Evolution of Language Services and make a win-win situation with AI
Thalita Lima
7 min
Table of Contents

AI potentially taking jobs from humans is a “concern” that also extends to the translation field. But is it a constructive worry for translators to carry on their shoulders? From where we stand, it isn’t at all.  

The real job-taker is the skillful translator able to leverage the best of LLM (Large Language Models) to handle the hard/massive work. 

Translating involves more than converting words from one language to another. It requires a deep understanding of the cultural and social context in which the communication is taking place. 

So what’s the point in this alliance? How to achieve a win-win situation indeed? 

Face AI as a Virtual Assistant

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The main shift in perspective on this relationship is to see AI as an assistant. One that handles the most repetitive and massive tasks: file management, maintaining glossaries, improving the Machine Translation etc.

AI can handle large volumes of data and repetitive tasks more consistently than humans. But AI is nothing without the human touch!

If AI is the virtual assistant, it is up to the human translator to take on the sensitive (and strategic) role, assuming authorship and managing the work. This means dedicating oneself to the interesting and engaging aspects of translation: cultural nuances, studying local expressions/dialects, and refining the text to make it more faithful to the original.

And most importantly: it is the human touch that makes the content relevant.

Greater efficiency leads to more work done

Gen AI even collaborates to bring more work to your project pipeline. Imagine that you, as a translator, will have AI as a second pair of eyes that will investigate details regarding the accuracy and clarity of the text that your own eyes might overlook.

With the integration of this super virtual assistant, you will need fewer revisions, and the final product delivery will be faster. Following simple logic, the greater the efficiency (including, of course, speed and quality), the happier your clients will be with the results, increasing the likelihood of them rehiring you or recommending you for other projects.

It’s a matter of ease, strategy, and adaptation

Translators who worry about AI competition taking away their jobs are wasting energy. It’s like living in nostalgia for a time when texts were handwritten with a fountain pen and paper. It's valid if it serves the aesthetics of a project stage. But how many writers really work that way? Or how many translators still provide services only using manual dictionaries and none of the digital tools? 

The same goes for Gen AI in translation services. It's a matter of ease, strategy and adaptation. The sooner translators see AI as a tool that makes their lives easier, the softer they will adapt to the opportunities.

Techniques, Human Touch and the Art of Translation

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As raised by our CEO, Gabriel Fairman, “translators are tastemakers, curators, deciders, and artists.” 

Artificial intelligence allows the translator to embrace these functions. How come? AI takes care of the technical aspects, while you, as a translator, can allow your unique skills to become even more relevant and valuable. It's your billable skill in this game! 

We could argue AI makes translators even more human. We know it's bold to make such a statement, but the evolution of language services is precisely about knowing how to navigate and embrace innovations, even if they seem fearful in the beginning.

Human translation refines where language models are unable to reach. And it’s at this stage that you will recall the arguments you will use to convince your clients that professional translation is crucial. Remind them that the translation process is careful and time-consuming. It requires delicacy, considerations of language use, context, and sensitivity to cultural nuances.

Leading in AI times 

The course of things points out that leaders with AI will take the job of those without. 

In the opinion of  Diego Cresceri, CEO and founder of Creative Words, one of the challenges, that maybe is the reason why AI scares some translators and leaders in the field, is the tiredness of having to train yourselves to adapt and learn pos-editing, to finally thrive. 

Watch here the video of our chat with this leader in one episode of Merging Minds. It’s an inspirational conversation to open translators eyes to entrepreneurship.

In summary of all the points raised, AI took translators out of their comfort zone, for sure. But it doesn't take away your ability to think proactively. It is all about how you approach it.

That’s why those who are already surfing on AI integrated translation services dare to assert that AI won’t take your job, but someone using (and leading with) AI will.

Are you ready to take the opportunity to be more responsible and creative?

Thalita Lima
Passionate about languages and the power of localization to connect minds. Journalist, writer, photographer, and ecology student
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