Perhaps it is the laziness of humankind or the loneliness; that drives us to create a machine that can read a text or listen to a speech and then audibly translate it to another language. However, translating the spoken or written word from one language to another is even more challenging. English is a compilation that resulted from conquering foes, and the result is that of words and phrases from a hodgepodge of different languages which makes it even harder to translate to any other single language. The following are only four of the top reasons human translators are better than using translation tools.
1. The word 'run' has over 645 applied and implied meanings
As an example, let's use these two sentences for the word 'running'. "Is your child running down that hill?" And, "Is your refrigerator running?" In the first sentence, running implies the use of legs to move from one location to another. In the second sentence, the word 'running' means operation without moving to a different location. To date, refrigerators do not grow legs and relocate themselves to a different place in the kitchen, although it would be handy for cleaning purposes if they did. Context is difficult to translate by humans and computers simply cannot master it, yet.
2. Hieroglyphics Languages are Not Yet Available
Not all languages lend themselves to translation because their lettering system consists of symbols and pictographs. Those 'letters' build a story for the reader and often include meanings that only apply to that graphic. Scholars around the world have difficulty reading some types of languages, and some languages offer a lesson in seeing the whole picture at once instead of focusing on a single word at a time.
3. Interpreting Body Language and Nuance.
Human translators have the advantage of visually interpreting body language as well as voice inflection. Combined with the ability to expand on the individual word meaning as used in the sentence, this gives a live translator a demonstrative advantage over a computer.The human brain is an astounding part of the human organism that can compare multiple items or conditions and reach a conclusion that is condition oriented. Computers do calculate math, but they are not able to perform at the same height as the human brain when surroundings are ever-changing.
4. Too Many Languages In the World
The surface of the earth is 196.9 million mi² and the land mass is only 57.5 million mi², yet there are an estimated 7000 different languages. The demand for professional translators is very high. Such an endeavor would take hundreds of years, even at the highest speed calculations to produce results worthy of study, or improvement.
A human translator must have an excellent command of the mechanics of languages due to the order in which most subjects, phrases, and actions occur. The Spanish language is a good example of the verb action beginning the sentence, and the subject follows while being acted upon by other phrases. With 7000 different languages, this presents an infinite number of possibilities and meanings that computers are incapable of computing.