David Edwards


About the session

Is AI going to take your job? Probably not – A vendor’s perspective on the future of the localization industry

The recent launch of the large language models OpenAI and Chat GPT represent a leap forward for generative AI and, by extension, Machine Translation. Trained on an enormous corpus of words, the potential for this new generation of tools to upend the translation industry cannot be overstated, and has rightfully generated a lot of excitement about its potential uses. However, with such a radical rebalancing of the ratio between cost and quality of machine translation, translators and other professionals in the localization industry have expressed justifiable concerns about their role – where will they fit in in the rapidly changing industry in which we find ourselves?

The purpose of this talk is to reassure those in the localization industry with such concerns. Drawing on a vendor’s experience with a number of pilot and delivered projects using machine translation technology, I argue that the role of language specialists and project managers is as crucial as ever. Machine translation, in its current or future form, ought never to fully replace the role of a translator, and on the other hand should be regarded as a job creation tool rather than a threat. The principle of “human-in-the-loop” demands that a language expert or translator is always involved in the process, and ROI projections mean that previously unthinkable language combinations have become profitable. AI and machine translation may change the way we work, but it is highly doubtful that the translator is about to become imminently extinct.

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