This week I enjoyed being a listener to various rooms on Clubhouse! And here you are my Clubhouse L10n Insights of the week!

I enjoyed attending a lot of L10n rooms where they all tackled a lot of important topics related to culture & how AI is affecting us nowadays!

  • Platform Economics, Rapid Scaling, and Localization
  • Localization Explained
  • The Worldly Marketer Chat
  • Language, Culture, and Growth
  • Localisation talks – PoPo

And in the same week, Slator reported interestingly that: “a court in Poland has set a precedent of sorts by weighing in on the use of free machine translation (MT) tools such as Google Translate?” read the full story.

All this reminds me of how I have been contacted by one of my regular clients to revise a legal task intended to be read by prosecutors for The Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF). After accepting the task I spotted the bad karma of Machine Translation. Later on, I contacted my client and settled the matter in order to avoid dealing with such “Machine Translators” again & started my re-translation process from scratch and charged more – YAY!
I was frustrated that the quality of the translation provided is not correctly rendered and is just a waste of my client’s time & money!
For example, the word (foreword) in the task is translated as if the writer is saying moving ahead though it is a forward at the beginning of the book! Even the legal phrase ’adequate remedy’ is treated as if the source text is referring to some sort of medical treatment!

All of which correlates with an interview hosted by Andrew Morris & Tanya Quintieri having Henry Líu talking about “The Future of our Profession and The Industry” – Translation Mastermind Summit 2020  during which he shed light on the changes happening in our profession, reshapings, market demands, and transformation!

He also expressed how it is “ridiculous” some clients are requesting to lower the rates of PEMT (Post Editing) tasks as long as they need to humanise an MT to reach the perfect outcome i.e. we are fixing a problem with your tool so reasonably we should charge more! 
Translation & even Localisation is an act of translating the meaning behind the words in a way that echoes the idea; it is not an act of using the same words in a different language, a localiser/ translator has to take into consideration the niche & jargon he/she is localising/ translating into!
This level will never be attained by a machine! AI is aiming at outdoing some human cognitive functions, as announced by various AI scientists and engineers around the globe, but what about ecology?!
Isn’t translation/ localisation a process that is addressing humans with all their self-conscious emotions that differentiate us from bots & robots?
And I think there is a huge gap between Artificial Intelligence & Emotional/ Human Intelligence and that’s the question!

Machines can’t translate the various degrees of emotions! Initial positive & negative connotations of some words according to a particular context/culture can’t be fully understood by a machine!


”Technology is changing the way we interact as humans.” Dan Brown

And that what we have to talk about. It’s not about the replacement of a translator/ linguist, it’s about how we will do the actual work we are doing nowadays!

In their book, Humility Is the New Smart: Your job is at risk—if not now, then soon” Edward D. Hess & Katherine Ludwig are exploring “how human beings can excel at the skills that smart machines and smart robots will not be able to do well in the next few decades, which is totally related!

For me, translation is a scientific art & a sophisticated process performed by the most complex organ in the human body – the human brain!


However, this doesn’t mean that neglecting MT in our translation/ localisation community is the right decision!

We have to do research work from time to time to be updated with its progress in order to be able to cope with it and defend our work to know how to make use of it and reap its benefits!
Yes, we humans run after easy solutions but without the human touch, AI tools will end up overpromising & underdelivering in terms of the quality of the localised Products!
Change is a crucial topic especially for linguists; thanks to the technology that is undoubtedly affecting our working routine concurrently! We have to deal with the relentless changes heading on!
Do you remember how we used to check paper dictionaries? Handwriting translations? The first time we heard about CAT tools? Even COVID-19 and the fact that we are living digitally out of a sudden?

We have to study the tech-savvy tools and make use of the available technologies. That’s why I have taken the MTPE certification by SDL, notwithstanding my beliefs because we must have the courage to read the trends hovering around to be able to reap its benefits if any!

It covers the techniques and skills involved in MTPE:

  •  Rules-based Machine Translation (RBMT);
  •  Statistical Machine Translation (SMT);
  •  Neural Machine Translation (NMT);
  • Different MT solutions: Generic & Customizable engines;
  • Differenct levels of post-editing: light post-editing, full PE vs Over-editing, etc!


And I came to the conclusion that: Neural MTPE is an asset to human linguists & not a replacement! “Translation & Culture Matter” – AI will hardly be able to imitate culture! And according to some studies, 75-80% of prosumers around the world prefer to buy what reflects their own cultural identity.

As an Arabic Linguist, I assure you that transarabizing your content via an online translation service does not usually yield the results you are looking for when your business is operating seriously on an international & Arabized level.
Natives can spot a pretender from a mile away e.g. the famous translation mistake of IKEA Bahrain. Arabization plays a crucial role in treating your content as a living organism on an Arabized level, it is more than just switching from a certain language into a cut-and-dry Arabic copy!
Offering culturally sensitive translations is very important in our Arabic translation business!
Do you know a single word can be interpreted differently from an Arabic country to another and may hold both +ve & -ve connotations at a time before your ICA according to his place of residence/ culture?
Even emojis!! People interpret the same “emoji” in completely different ways according to their culture!
For example, 🙌 a symbol of celebration or excitement! But in Egypt, we may use it as a hand gesture to ward off the evil eye!
So, we are not only localising Arabic in form and style, but also adapting the related customs, manners, and mentality, which will never be done by machines!


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