Technology is a global industry. It is no longer reserved for the exclusive, wealthy elite but has now become available to most people regardless of social status. In countries with less tradition of foreign language learning, it is a must to offer them the technology in the user native language.
In this article we want to talk about how language services are part of the development of new technologies and devices.
Websites are incorporating online assistants for obtaining information faster, such as how to find a specific section on the website, how to submit a support ticket, or how to get specific contact information. And perhaps you have even tried asking an offensive question to such an assistant, who, very politely, then will tell you that she cannot help you on that task.
The same principle is applied to Siri, whose funny answers are still famous after time, although Siri is continuously improving.
This technology is now applied to Smart TVs, that are also acting as assistants. Do you feel sad and lonely? You can ask your Smart TV to select for example a romantic film, among your list of selected channels.
How is it achieved?
We ignore the technical details, but we assume that in both cases it has something to do with keywords in a specific language. In the example above, probably the keywords sad and lonely are associated with romantic movies.
Has this been done through the use of translation? Probably not.
Feelings and perception are part of a person’s culture, as we have explained recently in our article Ethics in Translation. Therefore, this type of content is better done by writing in the target language than doing a translation, because what is offensive in one culture may not have the same negative effect in another.
Translators can also be considered native content writers, and their knowledge of a foreign language and culture enables them to understand how the device works in the native language and how to apply it in the localized version. This cannot be done with a translation tool, as the source will probably not match the target and entering it in a translation memory would not be of much use. The translator task, in this case, will be to enter such questions and answers directly in the target language so that the device is prepared for that type of ‘requests’.
This is the same approach followed on multilingual SEO, as explained in our article SEO and Website Localization. At Jensen Localization, and as evidenced by the requests from our clients, we think that language and technology will still have a close relationship for many years. Feel free to contact us to learn how we can help you with your linguistic needs, being them translation, localization or content creation.