The Growth of Machine Translation

When talking about automatic translation or machine translation, the first thing that comes to mind is Google Translate, which most people have used at one point or another. It’s ease of use, range of languages, and relative accuracy make it extremely useful for trivial translations, or cases where just the general gist is good enough.

Outside of Google Translate, other companies are also offering machine translation, including DeepL GmbH, with their service, DeepL. The smooth translations that DeepL provide are said to even rival Google Translate in their accuracy.

As machine translation becomes more and more accurate, we head towards an incredible future where people can easily communicate, even if they don’t speak the same language. (Possibly we are in that future now!) It would be like having a real-life Babel Fish from Douglas Adam’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

And so, with the existence of such a convenient tool, what does it mean for translation companies such as ours? Feeling the burden of doubt from this question lying over me, I asked the head of sales at our company, Mr. Higuchi, about the future of the translation industry.

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<Mr. Higuchi>

While it is true that AI translation such as DeepL is increasing in accuracy, AI is not going to be able to replace human translation and debugging in the entertainment industry, at least, not in my lifetime. And so, our goal really should be a kind of “coexistence” with AI translation.

For example, I think doing something like a preliminary translation by machine, then reviewing and rewriting this translation by hand, would show a dramatic improvement in speed and accuracy. In the case of debugging, AI could be used to eliminate collisions or duplicates, as well as running automated checks of commands. Humans could then use their experience and intuition to check trouble spots in the debug. I think this could dramatically reduce the workload.

To be sure, if AI continues to learn from the achievements of the entertainment translation industry, perhaps someday there could come a day when AI will surpass humans.

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Coexistence with AI… It sounds like something out of a Hollywood blockbuster, but this kind of future may actually be closer than we think. While no one truthfully knows what will happen in the future, if humans and AI can work together to help lift quality, as well as lower costs, it is easy to see a future where deploying games overseas is easier than ever before.

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