Do you subscribe to Jost Zetzsche’s Tool Box Journal newsletter? If not, you should. It’s a monthly roundup of all things language technology-related. I always feel that Jost tracks translation technology so that I don’t have to: instead of combing through hundreds of articles, I just read the Tool Box. This is not an affiliate deal; but if you do subscribe to the Tool Box, do the right thing and pay the voluntary $17 per year subscription fee. It takes a lot of time to put a publication like this together, and you can afford $17 for that if you’re going to read it.
In the most recent Tool Box Journal, I particularly enjoyed Barry’s Olsen’s Tech-Savvy Interpreter column, in which he demos and reviews an automated interpreting earpiece, the Lingmo Translate One2One. I found this fascinating, for a few reasons:
-As I said on Twitter, lots of people like to eye-roll and yell about automated interpreting devices (“Worthless and a joke!” “Will put all interpreters out of a job!” and everything in between), but very few people actually test these things to see how they work.
-In my experience, most translators and interpreters focus on the accuracy/inaccuracy of automated translation and interpreting tools, to the detriment of every other feature. And it’s not all about accuracy: usability is a huge factor as well. Barry delves into this–the Lingmo earpiece is essentially a smartwatch that hangs off your ear, and it must be worn on the right ear. Thus, what happens if you prefer your left ear? Or if you are deaf or hard of hearing in your right ear? Or if you don’t feel like roaming around Paris with a smartwatch on your ear? Seemingly small issues like this can make a huge difference.
-Personally, I’m really curious about what automated translation and interpreting tools can actually do. I actually find it fun to pit DeepL against my own work and see how I measure up. I think these kinds of benchmarking tests are really interesting, so I quite enjoyed this article.