Good morning, everyone. Today I’m here to offer you something about artificial intelligence.
When I got my offer from BFSU, some of my relatives told me, “Learning language does no help to your job seeking. One of the WeChat articles says that machine translation will take over interpreters in the very near future.” I know that their skepticism is out of care and concern for me. They thought it would be difficult to make it as an interpreter. And even myself used to share the same concern about my future career, as an English learner.
We all know machine translation, you type in words or sentences, and the machine says “Here’s the translation”. Easy and quick, right? Well, I think that for my relatives and I, who take machine as a threat, our worry basically bases on these two assumptions: 1) Machine translation is becoming more accurate. 2) They are going to compete with human beings. The former one is undeniable, especially with the fact that AI is booming recently. So, let’s think about the latter one, will AI become human beings’ competitor?
Take interpretation as an example. I’ve learned that there is a new kind of interpreting device, which can show the speaker’s script simultaneously with accurate translation, so that when interpreters miss a few lines, they only need to read the translation provided by the machine. It’s literally a very powerful and helpful assistant for the conference interpreters. However, you may wonder, since there’s such a useful tool, why do we still pay for human interpreters instead of machines? Well, we’ll come back to this right away. Imagine that there’s a press conference first, a foreign correspondent raises a fierce question about sensitive political issue, human interpreter with strong political awareness and clear stand will interpret selectively, whereas the poor machine that knows nothing about politics will translate every single word, perfectly. Now we see the answer of that question.