Interpreters Unlimited Gives a Human Touch to AI and Machine Translation

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Marc Westray
Interpreters Unlimited
San Diego
CA 92126 
United States

It’s no surprise that Artificial Intelligence (AI) has exploded across all industries, with language services being no exception. The use of AI in Machine Translation (MT) has proved to be more than capable of translating text in a wide variety of languages with remarkable speed and accuracy. While this technology has undoubtedly made life easier for businesses, governments, and individuals around the world, it has also raised concerns, particularly when it comes to handling sensitive documents such as legal or medical records.

At the heart of these concerns is the question of whether AI can be trusted to translate sensitive documents accurately and securely. While AI and Machine Translation has made significant strides in recent years, it is still far from perfect. Even the most advanced AI systems can struggle to accurately convey the nuances of language, particularly when dealing with highly technical or specialized terminology.

This can be concerning when it comes to legal or medical documents, where even a small mistranslation can have serious consequences. A mistranslated prescription or medical diagnosis, for example, could put a patient’s health at risk, while a mistranslated legal document could result in costly legal battles or even criminal charges.

These are some of the reasons why there has been hesitancy by some organizations and individuals to trust AI and Machine Translation with their documents. Many are uncertain and fearful of trusting AI in general, due to security and accuracy concerns, as well as a worry that it may replace jobs across many industries. But they do not separate Machine Translation from the AI powering it. Machine Translation uses AI to improve and advance, but it is not 100% reliant on AI, it is not just AI, MT is its own entity. In actuality, the combination of the two has enhanced and advanced Machine Translation, creating increased confidence and success in the process.

During a hearing on the oversight of AI and the rules for Artificial Intelligence held May 16th, top representatives from technology and AI testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology & the Law. They spoke on how to regulate and handle the use of AI throughout all industries from healthcare to the corporate world. In her testimony as a witness, Christina Montgomery, Chief Privacy Officer (CPO) at IBM said, “The most important thing that we could be doing and can and should be doing now is to prepare the workforce of today and the workforce of tomorrow for partnering with AI technologies.”

One company preparing while addressing AI concerns is Language Service Provider (LSP) Interpreters Unlimited (IU), who specializes in providing high-quality translation and interpretation services for a wide range of industries, including legal and medical. IU has always embraced technology and its advancements, weaving them into their day-to-day operations, from proprietary auto scheduling technology to developing their own smart phone app, and AI and Machine Translation is their latest venture.

While IU still offers 100% human document translation, they now offer a hybrid AI powered Machine Translation and human translation model. The IU hybrid approach to translation takes the speed and efficiency of Machine Translation, powered by AI, and combines it with the expertise of human translators. Their Machine Translation systems are trained in specialized terminology and domain-specific language, ensuring accurate translation of the most technical documents. However, every document they machine translate with AI is also reviewed, quality control checked and edited by a human translator. This not only ensures that the final product is of the highest quality and accuracy but also culturally appropriate and sensitive to the nuances of language while curbing the concerns with AI use. This new hybrid approach benefits all parties as translations come out 30% cheaper, 50% faster, yet still 100% verified by a human translator with a minimum of 10 years of experienced in the specific subject matter being covered.

Although IU is combining the best of both worlds to alleviate AI concerns, some are still hesitant. As with anything new, there will always be those who are nervous about certain types of progress and innovation. IU recently sent out an email to customers promoting this new hybrid document translation service and was met with a variety of reactions, mostly positive but still some negative. One law firm expressed the concern about securely and safely translating sensitive materials with AI, to which they were assured that exclusive 100% human translators can still be used as usual, but that the new hybrid method is just as confidential and accurate, since it takes place in a private and secure system, and is reviewed by the human quality control translators before it is completed. One surprising response came from a teacher in a school district which will go unnamed, who simply exclaimed “F*ck off with your AI”. Maybe their discontent was based on fear of new technology that they do not understand, fear of change, or fear of losing their job to AI down the road.

AI will not slow, it will only continue to integrate into every aspect of our world. As IBM CPO Christina Montgomery testified, it’s time to prepare the workforce to partner with AI technologies.

The IU hybrid AI, MT and human translation service is not replacing their 100% human translation service, it is just the latest document translation offering powered by AI technology and taking it to the next level with the human touch. It does not replace human jobs or human translation at IU, it is evolving the service, keeping up with the times and technology to benefit everybody. “Our goal is to create a bridge between Limited English speakers and those companies who serve them. Whatever we can do to improve and make services more efficient, we will do” said IU Vice President Shamus Sayed.

While the rise of Machine Translation has undoubtedly revolutionized the way we communicate and do business, as with anything AI related, questions, concerns and misunderstandings are to be expected. As technology continues to evolve, so will the strategies and approaches used by LSPs to ensure that Machine Translation is being used properly and responsibly. By relying on the services of professional Language Service Providers that combine the speed and efficiency of MT and AI, with the expertise of human translators, it ensures that sensitive documents are translated accurately, securely, and ethically, and should help relieve any major apprehensions with the use of AI translation moving forward.