Computers are everywhere. We live in an age of cloud computing, smartphones, big data and self-driving cars. Surely we can take advantage of all this smart technology to automate the translation process? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Machine translation (MT) has made great leaps forward in recent years, but it still can’t replace human translators.
Human translators work by “decoding” the meaning of the source text, then “re-encoding” it in the target language. This requires a profound understanding of the grammar, syntax and especially the culture of the source language – and a similar grasp of the target language. This is something that computerized systems just do not – and arguably cannot – have.