MAN VS. MACHINE: Translation in the Digital Age

Wednesday, October 7, 2015 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm
UA Poetry Center, Rubel Room 1508 E. Helen Street Tucson, AZ 85721

Presented by: David Gramling, Assistant Professor, German Studies

Advances in machine translation over the past 25 years have led us to wonder whether, in the digital age, the role of human effort in translating meanings from one language to the next may be diminishing. Whether out of pride or fear, working translators often insist that human beings, because of our cultural attunement and emotional subtleties, translate better than machines do, and always will. However, in an era of unprecedented and complex migration and mobility, more and more institutions and corporations are finding it practical to outsource translation and interpreting services to off-site, multilingual platforms, in order to ensure the quick and easy flow of goods and services in transnational markets. Given such a persistent human desire to translate, and to translate well, Gramling’s talk explores what this development ultimately may mean for the human condition in the 21st century.