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Translation Professionals and Machine Translation in 2024: Friends or Foes?

Matthew Patel
Matthew Patel
Posted in Zoom Sep 5 · 8 Sep, 2022
Translation Professionals and Machine Translation in 2024: Friends or Foes?

In the Age of Information, one of the most important but still completely accessible things we can find on the internet is information itself.  Information, which has a value that man can’t place a price on, has been made available and accessible to almost anyone, all they need is to find a way to get it. And thanks to technology, they now have a way to get it in almost an instant – quite literally only a few taps and clicks!

The internet has been around for quite some time now, and it was originally used for military purposes back then. 

However, so much has changed since that point in time, and the internet has now been made accessible to the public. Almost anyone can find themselves on the internet, and on it, people can find various communities where they can speak to other people. 

One documentary states that the internet compresses time and space like never seen before. But how exactly does it do that? 

The quickest answer to that is that the internet compresses time and space by serving as a bridge that connects people all around the world, creating a community on a global scale. 

This means that people from all over the world can communicate with each other, except for one problem: the language barrier. 

Translation Professionals Break Language Barriers

Because anyone can access the internet, anyone can also divulge any piece of information they want, too. However, they do so in their own language, as English – even if it is the most commonly spoken language in the world – is not everyone’s first language. 

This creates a communication barrier and often leads to misunderstanding, even to the point that people only communicate with others who speak their language.

However, with the creation of new inventions, there is also a creation of new professions. 

One goal of a kind of profession – one that existed even before the internet came to be – is to break down this language barrier that prevents people from communicating with each other properly. 

People who belong to this profession  took years of education to help others, and they are known as translation professionals.

Translation professionals, sometimes known as linguists, are there to mediate the communication between people who speak different languages.

However, before we dive into the details of the profession, we should first describe their field in its entirety. This article will talk about translation services as a field, translation professionals as mediators of communication, and advancements in their field of work.

Translation Services: Who Are Translation Professionals?

Translation professionals are similar to any person within a profession. Take for example doctors or nurses – they are professionals in the medical field. 

What they provide are healthcare services for problems related to your health. Another example would be lawyers, as they are professionals in the field of law. The services they provide are different kinds of legal assistance, depending on what your situation needs.

Translation professionals work in the field of language, where they provide services regarding linguistics. 

The service or the kind of work they find requires them to be experts in two different languages, and often English is the language of choice. 

The service requires them to mediate a conversation between two people so there is a proper understanding between the two.

What is translation?

Specifically, translation, or to translate, is defined as the act of converting or turning information into one’s own language. 

Human translation, which is carried out by translation professionals, is the act of communicating a message from a source language to an end language. Again, the translation professional needs to be not just familiar with two different kinds of languages, but also a deep understanding of both.

A bit of history of translation

Translation services have been around for quite some time, and some of you may be surprised that it dates back to as old as the Mesapotamian era. 

After that, religious texts were translated into various languages like Greek, often carried out by ancient scribes, which was an umbrella term used for people who would copy different kinds of texts before. 

Some of these scribes also served as translation professionals, allowing different ancient communities to understand text that came from different places.

With the coming of new technology every year, translation as a profession and as a service also evolved. 

Where people before would use Latin as the common language to speak and write, people changed language with new inventions. One such invention that made a great impact on translation professionals was the printing press. 

The coming of the printing press changed language entirely, especially when it came to reading. 

Texts could now be written at a very rapid rate, and what was even better was that they could be written in the local language. This meant that the translation professionals then now had to be proficient in not just two different languages, but also printing press technology. 

Translation Professionals: What You Need to Know about Them

People who provide translation services are known as translation professionals. 

We’ve said it over and over again, but they don’t need to only know two different languages to translate one into the other, but also need to have a deep understanding of them. 

This means that they also have to be able to understand the speaker’s intentions, tone of voice, and goals of their communication.

Aside from translating words and phrases to their actual meanings in the other language, they also have to take into consideration how it was delivered based on the factors mentioned above. 

This helps them deliver the message within the cultural context of the speaker, allowing them to convey other things like emotions. This is why they are known as translation professionals in the first place.

So how exactly does one become a translation  professional? What courses does one have to take to work in the field of language and what kind of schools offer these courses? 

This next section will describe what courses or kind of education one needs to take in order to become a translation professional.

How to become translation professionals?

The first step anyone can take is to study the language of their choice extensively. There are many ways to do this, and most of them are cheap or even completely free. One of the most common suggestions is to actually watch shows made in the foreign


This helps a lot of people learn not just direct translations, but also how messages are conveyed in different situations, allowing you to decipher the emotions the speaker wants to give out. 

The second step is quite harder, as it will most likely cost a lot of money for anyone, as it is to learn or get specialized training from actual professionals. 

The first step is done only to introduce you to the language you want to learn, and it shouldn’t be the sole basis to help you learn a language. Thankfully, there are a lot of both local and international organizations to help you find the perfect training on your road to become a professional.

The second step is obviously a prerequisite to the third step, as the latter requires you to be certified. 

Certified in terms of being proficient in a language and as a translator. If all you want to become is simply a translator between people, then the certification will be more than enough for you to jumpstart your career. 

However, not a lot of people are satisfied with just becoming a certified translator, but want to take it a step further.  If you want to bring your career to greater heights, the next steps require you to constantly learn and be proficient in not just languages. 

The fourth step needs you to target a specific industry, and learn how your foreign language is to be used in it. 

There are different terms, phrases, lingos, and jargon that may imply different things. So targeting a specific industry will help you work in it as you wish.

The fifth step requires some more learning than the fourth, as you have to also be proficient when it comes to using computers. 

As previously mentioned, new inventions and machines have changed the way translation services are provided to people. This means that you also have to learn to adapt to these changes if you really want to pursue a career in translation. How machines have changed the language industry will be discussed in the next section.

The sixth step requires you to find some experience not just in speaking the language to foreigners, but experience in actual work. If you wish to work in a specific industry in the country that speaks your foreign language, then it’s time to start looking for some jobs and employers to help you gain that experience. 

If you wish to pursue a career in helping others become translators and mediating communication between people, then it would be best to find a job that allows you to translate websites and other digital platforms.

However, the seventh step is a little different from steps four to six, though it is still related to learning and furthering your career. If you really want to further your career in translation alone, then the seventh step requires you to learn more languages, all the way from step one. 

Professional translators know more than just two languages, allowing them to communicate with a large number of people even if they come from different countries. This permits them to really find a successful career in translation.

Knowing what a professional translator does and figuring out the road to becoming a professional can be daunting at first. 

However, when you do reach your goals, things become so much easier. So many professional translators have found ease and comfort in their career. Do you already have a guess as to what makes their lives as translators easier?

Machine Translation: How They Help Translation Professionals

A lot of professional translators have found ease and comfort in their career thanks to new technology, specifically machine translation. However, that wasn’t – and still isn’t – always the case for many translators, as they see machine translation as a threat to their jobs.

However, what they fail to realize is that machine translation only enhances their ability to do their job. In this section, we will be talking about machine translation and how it has affected professional translators.

Machine translation, sometimes known as automated translation, is a process where a software on the computer translates text from one language to another. One great example of machine translation that a lot of people use but is highly underappreciated is Google translate. 

Google translate is an example of machine translation where you can simply select the language you speak to translate to the language you want to write or speak it in.

However, not a lot of translation professionals appreciate the beauty of machine translation, but rather see it as a threat to their jobs. 

This is because they think that with computer software becoming better and better by the minute, their jobs also slowly become obsolete. They fail to realize them as professionals are needed more than ever, as machines are but a tool to help people improve their lives.

Machine translation works through a rules-based translation, a statistical machine translation, and a neural machine translation. All these three combined help machine translation make an accurate conversion of words from one language to another. 

But guess what? All these three factors also rely on professional translators, as the machine cannot do these things if they do not have a basis. 

Rules-based translation specifically requires the help of professional translators and language experts to figure out grammar and language rules. 

When it comes to machine translation, professional translators are a must to help these machines convert these messages accurately and with as little error as possible. 

Otherwise, machine translation would be discouraged among native speakers as it would most likely convey the wrong message.

Aside from finding a job opportunity in machine translation, both professional and beginner translators can actually use it to find ease in their jobs. Texts and speech can be translated in a much faster manner. 

All they need to do is add a bit of human touch to the translation. Therefore, all they really have to do is find a good machine translation software and edit its conversion as a whole to convey the message writers and speakers want to convey.

Translation Professionals and Machine Translators: Enemies or Friends?

Therefore, we can say that machine translation and translation professionals are not enemies, but are codependent when it comes to accurate translation. 

Without professional translators, machine translation would have a very massive error rate, and no one would be enticed to actually use the product. Native speakers would discourage using it and would prefer that you actually learn from professionals rather than machines.

On the other hand, professional translators can find great use in machine translation by using it to get their jobs done faster. An almost instant translation helps them finish their job faster, allowing them to perform well at work. This increases their chances of finding

better careers due to their highly valued skill and speed. 

However, this doesn’t mean that they can just directly submit their translations, as they still have to edit it to make the translations sound more like it came from a human.

Why Do You Need Translation Services?

With the internet being accessible to various people across the globe, translation services have never been more valuable. Quite a lot of people want to find out about what’s going on in different countries, but not all countries transmit their news in English. 

This is where translation services come in, as information from all over the world is much easier to access and understand.

Aside from just news and important information, translation services have also allowed people from various places to build a community on their platform of choice. 

These communities often reach a global scale and have the power to create a strong impact on the internet and other people’s lives. 

This makes translation services even more important, as these communities have the power to change many things and help many people all around the world.


While there are still translators that want to believe that machine translation is a bane to their careers, it is important to know that such a non-progressive way of thinking won’t help anyone. 

If you wish to pursue a career in translation, you should never be too scared because of the advanced technology in the world. Smart people use that technology to attain their goals, not hinder them.

It may seem scary especially in such uncertain times, but it is also all the more reason to actually pursue your goals in becoming a translation professional. Uncertainty births great people, and you will know that you are strong enough because you actually managed to attain your hopes and dreams even if it wasn’t easy.