There is no doubt that the quality of the way people lead their lives has been improved by computers and technology. Let’s take cars, for example. In less than an hour, you can get to a distance that is 50 miles away. If you tried to run the same distance, it would take you a lot longer in addition to the fact that you would sweat buckets and use up a lot of effort.
Another instance would be in surgery. The precision of lasers cannot be matched with that of a scalpel. So it is fair to assume that in many fields, technology continues to beat humans. However, are there aspects of our lives where humans will always dominate?
Apart from the fact that many of these intelligent machines are manufactured by humans, there are still fields where humans cannot be replaced. For instance, can you use your notebook’s talent to compose a song? Or can you use a computer to write a poem? No doubt you can see that even though they are good, machines are not that great.
Humans are the only beings that can fully understand and translate languages. Search engines like Bing, Yahoo! and Google have been able to do automated translations to impressive levels. However, translations produced by humans can never be compared to machine translations. Machines cannot understand the essential details contained in languages, such as the different nuances, cultures, contexts, and styles.
Try using an online translator to translate a foreign-language email into your native language. There is all likelihood that the main gist of the message would be there. However, you would also observe that the translation would not sound natural.
Now imagine texts that are more complex, like novels which make use of synonyms left, right, and centre, mix metaphors and colloquialisms and use a more prominent bank of adjectives and nouns. Try typing in a couple of paragraphs from any foreign language author of your choice into Google Translate in the text’s original language. Get the machine to translate the test into a language you are familiar with like English, French, and so on. Likely, you would not make sense of the text that the machine would produce.
Language is a fantastic communication tool. To create a real “global village”, language is one of the last remaining barriers to be solved. This would always be the case, except if all human beings on Earth agree to speak one common language. This is why in today’s digital and globalized world, translation remains such a vital tool.
Humans are going to always have the upper hand over machines when it comes to translation. This fact is highlighted by several points, but the most important is that a lot of words and phrases do not translate appropriately between languages. Also, proverbs are not translated word for word.
In conclusion, language is such a beautiful but undeniably sophisticated thing. There are so many subtle differences between the world’s numerous languages that can only be understood by humans. It is probably because most vernaculars share a common ancestral tongue. In many things, machines continue to show that they are better than humans. However, when it comes to translation and language, humans will always excel.