How the semantic web will affect translation

What is it?

As far as I understand it, the “Semantic Web”, heralded by Tim Berners-Lee as the coming of Web 3.0, is about labelling everything. Because apparently the web as it stands is a big mess that somebody needs to clean up. All data on the global network will be tagged in a variety of ways, allowing computers to group relevant data sets in any way it or its operators see fit.

“The semantic web, bringing together AI and OCD.”

So what will this mean for the translation industry?

My initial thoughts are the quite obvious implications, but further discussion and consideration in this field is welcome; your comments and thoughts can be shared below.

Key impact 1 - Term research This ought to see a massive improvement in efficiency, with relevant information rising to the top of any related search. Glossary, term and dictionary websites would do well to keep an eye on this in order to capitalise on improved data transparency.

Key impact 2 - Machine translation This may be improved if the concepts are implemented, with full context being given to any multi-lingual text on the network, mistakes should occur less frequently. As a QA measure machines could also validate their own term selection decisions by comparing like for like texts and highlighting words and terms with lower certainties.

Key impact 3 - Buyers buying less Companies who buy translation services may be able to search for similar templates of existing human translations, leading to a cost reduction for them on that front. Lower barriers to international business then perhaps increase demand for human-presence-required interpreting services. How private would any given translation be? Would we be forced to share our work when the client publishes online, and in so doing losing any chance of translating that kind of text again?

Key impact 4 - More work! Translation of international tagging terms will need constant updating and indexing. This potentially represents a slew of new work; unless the process is automated, which is not wholly out of the question.

Opportunities may be plentiful in this evolution of the internet, as with the move towards applications and artificial intelligence. The best strategy may be to seek these out as existing translation services are potentially increasingly automated.

What are your thoughts?

Thanks for reading. I do translation from French and Swedish to English, so if that's useful to you, feel free to connect and message me on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Published by and tagged translation using 382 words.