Author Topic: Soon, machine translation will make the language barrier passé  (Read 10035 times)

Joe Carillo

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Soon, machine translation will make the language barrier passé
« on: February 08, 2016, 05:55:47 PM »
An American innovation expert predicts that a decade or so from now, universal machine translation would have accelerated the world’s growing interconnectedness by removing the need for a shared language.

In “The Language Barrier is About to Fall,” an article in the January 29, 2016 issue of The Wall Street Journal, Alec Ross, senior fellow of Columbia University’s School of International & Public Affairs and author of the book The Industries of the Future, says that machine translation is getting much better by leaps and bounds that everyone who can read, say, this article in English will be able to converse in dozens of foreign languages, eliminating the very concept of a language barrier.

ARTWORK FROM THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

“The machines will grow exponentially more accurate and be able to parse the smallest detail,” Ross predicts. “Whenever the machine translations get it wrong, users can flag the error—and that data, too, will be incorporated into future attempts. It is just a matter of more data, more computing power and better software. These will come with the passage of time and will fill in the communication gaps in areas including pronunciation and interpreting a spoken response.”

Ross, former senior adviser for innovation to the U.S. Secretary of State, observes that while the current stage of globalization was propelled in no small part by the adoption of English as the lingua franca for business—to the point that there are now twice as many nonnative English speakers as native speakers—the next wave will open up communication even more broadly by removing the need for a shared language.

“It will take economically isolated parts of the world and help fold them into the global economy. It will make any of us, in principle, a master of the Tower of Babel,” he says.

Read Alec Ross’s “The Language Barrier is About to Fall” in The WallStreetJournal.com now!
« Last Edit: February 09, 2016, 10:27:08 AM by Joe Carillo »