The future of automated translation technology

Use of automated translation can be problematic in diplomatically sensitive circumstances. In some instances the use of free but imperfect or inaccurate tools can have negative outcomes. Frequent problems are encountered in processing acronyms and industry or sector specific terms as well as vernacular/colloquial expressions and jokes. It was conceded that in more informal settings even imperfect automated translation still has the capacity to provide valuable/helpful levels of access to multilingual resources.

In 5-10 years there will be automated translation techniques which will adequately support 90% of most communication needs. This will involve a combination of statistical and artificial intelligence methods along with increased mobilisation of crowd-sourced input. India in particular is potentially fertile ground for supporting advances in this area given the number of official languages in that country alongside high level intellectual and engineering resources. In general terms it was predicted that within a decade there will be more and better automated translation services which will be serving more people across a greater range of languages.