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Lost in Translation

One major technological innovation on the horizon is real-time language translation. The development of real-time language translation has a huge impact on society in many different aspects. Language is a barrier to so many people across the globe that can prevent one from conversing with someone else across the globe. With the rise telecommunication technologies it is becoming easier and easier to contact people across the globe while usually, the only thing holding them back is a language difference. This is why this real-time language translation technology will be one of the most important pieces of technology on the horizon for our generation.

There are both positives and negatives to this because as language technologies progress, it is becoming easier and easier to learn new languages but the problem is that studies have shown it is much easier for children to learn new languages and have it stick as opposed to adolescents. There seems to be less need for the knowledge of multiple languages, there will be a huge demand for when the people who speak the largely popular languages around the world need to collaborate, they will be at a crossroads and in need of major assistance. This is where real-time language translation technology comes in but, while yes this translation technology is helping to break the language barrier, it stops so many people from actually learning and using multiple languages. So, some positives to real-time language translation is that the language barrier will begin to be broken down and international communication will increase the success of many businesses and corporations. The translation may also increase tourism as people who were scared to travel may not be as shy anymore. Additionally it could connect families and friends who have struggled to communicate therefore potentially increasing people’s social network or impact. Social networking has had an enormous impact on society in recent times and these new language translation technologies may play a bigger role in the online world than most of us would imagine.

The term lost in translation is something that is really interesting because it refers to the idea that a word or saying/phrase may have multiple meanings in one language and could be close to impossible to define or describe in another language. This is an interesting phenomenon that occurs but my fear is that soon this will cause some words or phrases to be diminished. Furthermore, a tangent of this is already occurring and being incorporated into society extremely fast. I would argue that the idea of lost in translation does not only apply to spoken languages but something very similar occurs through written text. Its difficult to clearly show emotions through text, while someone can infer someones feelings through, text the subtle facial expressions, body gestures, voice inflections, etc. are completely eliminated through text. There are emojis and GIFs that are circling the online world but they don’t always do the trick. As language becomes more and more advanced we are dropping off these important aspects (lost in translation and lost in text) which may cause unforeseen complications for us as a society while we attempt to effectively and efficiently communicate down the road.

— Max Lobel

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