With wearables now on the market for language interpretation, like the Pilot earpiece, there’s an ongoing excitement for artificial intelligence to remove the need for human interpreters. A slick marketing video shows a language barrier interaction flawlessly facilitated with immediate phrase assistance and translation. There are smiles and amazement at this new-found, conversational technology.
Added anticipation for interpreting accuracy came from an updated 2016 Google Translate capability that uses a neural machine translation engine for translating whole sentences at a time rather than one word at a time. The demand for language assistance is massive as Google claims to translate 100 billion words per day.
In recent years, much attention has been paid to Google Translate’s support of medical phrases between doctors and patients. What was once limited usefulness in the healthcare setting now has led to claims of 90%-plus translation accuracy according to a 2019 report published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Technology-augmented translation in casual conversations is one thing, but there’s more at stake when bridging the language barrier for what can be life or death situations.