European Commission spokesperson Eric Mamer announced at a press conference the EC’s willingness to partially automate the translation of its press review. The service will be guaranteed by the EU in-house machine translation tool “eTranslation”; and no, it will not replace the work of translators.
eTranslation is a neural machine translation tool designed to make it easier for citizens to access information about the European Union in their preferred language. […] It allows users to automatically translate both texts or parts of texts and entire documents, in all 24 official languages of the EU.
The decision follows the current evolution of the information services global landscape, profoundly revolutionised by the internet and the use of social networks. In an increasingly connected and digitalised world, news spreads much faster than in the past, allowing continuous “minute-by-minute” updating.
This increasing speed meant, for example, that newspapers around the world opened their digital portals and social channels to reach users at every news story.
Immediacy in communication has become of primary importance, and it is precisely from this need that the EU program for an instant automatic translation of all the news broadcast by the Commission is born.
EU and machine translation
The use of eTranslation will therefore be intended for the immediate translation of the press review into languages for which the work of a professional translator is not yet available.
As Mamer himself stated, “We will continue to provide professional human translation of our print material. Which will replace machine translations as soon as it becomes available.”
In fact, eTranslation will fill the time gap that separates the output of the news from its translation by a qualified linguist.
Generally, these contents are available on the European Commission portal – in the Press corner section of the official EC website – in four European languages.
Namely English, German, French and Spanish.
These machine translations will not only cover the gap created by the physiological timing of the professional’s work, but will also expand the language coverage of the EC.
Finally, given the unreliability of unsupervised translation produced by MT systems, the pages translated by eTranslation will be marked with a disclaimer aimed at warning users of the possible inaccuracy of what they have just read.
Fortunately, and once again, the authorities do not question the role of the human translator. Professionals will have the final say, to guarantee the highest quality and correctness of the language conversion.
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