It’s an old dream that pops up in science fiction time and again: on-the-fly language translation that lets speakers of different languages communicate as if they understood each other directly. In Star Trek, Kirk and Spock have their tricorders, and in Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a “babel fish” burrows into your ear to send a translation directly into your brain. (more…)
It has been almost twenty years since IBM’s Deep Blue beat reigning world champion Garry Kasparov in a game of chess. Computers can outsmart humans–we all know that, right? Well, Germany’s Federal Association of Interpreters and Translators (BdÜ) has recently staged a different kind of battle between man and machine: a competition between translators.
Given the popularity of free online tools such as Google Translate, it’s understandable that traditional, human translators feel like they want to measure themselves against the artificial challengers head-on. That’s what the BdÜ did: long-time, state-certified financial translator Ralf Lemster and Google Translate went head-to-head, translating a newspaper article from English into German. (more…)