Sunday, July 29, 2018

Almost-accurate machine translation of human language can be dangerous - its occasional inaccuracy can lead to wrong decisions

The point here is that if machine translation becomes so good that you become so confident about it that you don't think you need to cross-check or double-check the automated translation, then this can lead to wrong and potentially dangerous actions/decisions [the assumption here is that merely "almost-flawless" automated language translation can create this high level of confidence or trust in a human user, and that "fully-flawless" level of accuracy isn't required]. Since the translation service is not 100% accurate but only almost-100%, it will inevitably make occasional errors/mistakes. But since the human user has complete confidence or faith in this service and so he doesn't feel the need to get the automated translation checked [manually - by a human translator], the error/mistake can be [silently] accepted by the human user as if it were the correct translation [that is, the human won't even realize that there's any flaw in the translation]. This can lead to erroneous actions or decisions. If doctors rely solely on such "almost-perfect" computer translation, serious medical blunders can occur.

An example of very good automated translation is below. How can I claim that the translation correctly depicts what was originally written in Ukrainian? I read a few news stories [in English] about this Ukrainian-language webpage. But I cannot be sure that those news outlets got this page translated by a human, or they themselves too relied on Google Translate.