Throughout history, translation has played an essential role in the global transfer of knowledge. From an early date, people have felt the urge to cross frontiers and communicate with others speaking different languages, making translation both a form of communication and a means of cultural transfer and of cooperation between nations.
A translator’s responsibility in the pursuit of excellence is always great. This goes for everything: transposing from one language to another a work of literature; a corporate balance sheet; a website; or even the translation of a restaurant’s starter menu.
The period of disappointment came to an end in 1977 with the development of the METEO System by the University of Montreal. METEO was created to translate weather forecasts from English to French and could translate 80,000 words a day, making it one of the first successful applications of the technology. The following year, Xerox began using Systran to translate its user manuals.
The first phase of machine translation began in 1945, the year the dream was born and took shape. That was the year American writer Murry Leinster popularised the idea of a mechanical translator that could help humans communicate with aliens in his science fictions tale, First Contact.
On 12 September, SlatorCon gets underway in San Francisco – the tech capital. Once again, language service providers, investors, engineers, linguists and academics will come together to discuss the current state and future of the translation industry and make the contacts that are essential for keeping abreast of market trends.
Mistakes in translation are nothing new.
Some of the “less fortunate” choices have endured for centuries and have become imprinted and even became anecdotal, with minor consequences. However, some others have had devastating effects, contributing to the outbreak or escalation of social and military tensions.