The Ethics of Machine Translation


ethics-translationOver the course of the last decade the quality of machine translations has progressed significantly. This has brought some advantages to translators, most notably the ever increasing availability of useful new CAT tools. It also has created some problems though. Especially among customers it has created a perception that translation work can be done quickly and cheaply. This ignores the fact that even the best machine translations still need extensive editing to reach the quality of a human translator. But the perception remains, which creates some ethical problems for freelance translators and agencies. The right thing to do would be to try and explain to the customer that good translations still cost considerable time and money. The risk is of course that the customer will just turn to someone else who might have less qualms about delivering unpolished machine translations for a cheaper price.

In this clip a panel of translation professionals adresses this problem. The video was recorded at an event organised by the Colorado University at Boulder and TransLingua on October 21, 2014. The entire panel discussion is available online, so do check out the other videos as well!

by Brecht Savelkoul

Communication Trainee at TermCoord