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artificial intelligence Tag

Will Google’s New Approach to Translation Make Agencies Redundant?

  |   CultureShocks Blog

Google says its new artificial intelligence powered translation tool scores nearly the same as human translators. Does this mean that translation and transcreation agencies are no longer relevant in 2016?  


Google Translate supports 103 languages and generates one billion transactions by over 200 million people every day. It processes daily quantities of translation that surpass what the world’s professional translators manage in a year. The facts and figures are extraordinary, but anyone who used Google Translate in the past will know that it often wasn’t that accurate. It relied on individually translating words and phrases that produced mixed results and struggled with the intricacies of complex changes like Chinese to English. Even Google admitted that its Phrase-Based Machine Translation (PBMT) service wasn’t good enough to be used to power single websites in multiple languages.


Technology that learns from its mistakes

However, things have just changed. Google’s latest version of Translate uses new techniques reliant on artificial intelligence (AI) for vastly improved results. Google Neural Machine Translation (GNMT) is based on the science that is used to build computer systems which imitate biological neural networks in humans and other animals. Such systems learn to make decisions through feedback in the same way that we do. You may have come across similar technologies before – they allow Facebook’s image recognition software to identify individual faces, virtual personal assistants

The bottom line for those who use the GNMT? In some of Google’s human-rated and side-by-side tests, GNMT approaches the accuracy achieved by average bilingual human translators and reduces translation errors by 60% compared to Google’s old PBMT system.

translation tool artificial intelligence


Subtlety, nuance and creativity a machine can never match

Such compelling technology and results might lead you to wonder if there’s still a place for professional human translation. Artificial intelligence has certainly brought Google Translate a step closer to human translation but for critical communications, a machine may struggle to ensure that words are interpreted by the target audience as intended. A machine might miss the nuance that a native speaker and translator will intrinsically feel. A machine won’t easily know when a different approach might be needed to make a point creatively, clearly and persuasively enough to truly engage a reader. And a machine could miss the overall intent and feel of your text due to focussing on the details.


The role of language service providers

The role of Language Service Providers, be they translation or transcreation agencies, can never be obsolete, as they have the best access to a wide network of language professionals who are well-equipped to interpret and create outstanding, industry-changing campaigns for their markets. No technology, however advanced, can match or surpass the eloquence, accuracy or cultural insight that a team of (human) copywriters will bring to the table – no brand will ever be able to rely on technology alone to enhance their influence on any target audience. Furthermore, it will take a miraculous technology to match the ability of human translators and copywriters who have their finger on the pulse of the rising and waning trends in their market and specific industries, as well as taking into account any current social and political trends that may affect a global campaign.


Nearly human, but not really human

Overall, Google’s new tools are  very helpful. For day-to-day work that isn’t too important, they compare very favourably to human translation. But what they’ll never be is actually human. And you can only communicate like a human if you are human.


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quote dennis r. mortensen ceo and founder artificial intelligence interviewed by textappeal

Talking Artificial Intelligence with Dennis R. Mortensen

  |   News

Our monthly podcast, Masters & Mavericks in Global Marketing, focuses on global marketing strategies for content, social media, and other ways to spread brand messaging worldwide. The podcast, hosted by Textappeal and Newsroom founder, Elliot Polak, shares in-depth and actionable knowledge to help businesses across the globe expand their reaches and impact new audiences with modern strategies and practices dispensed by experienced marketing experts.


This month’s episode features Dennis R. Mortensen, CEO and Founder of, a company which offers an AI personal scheduling assistant by the name of ‘Amy’. His marketing prowess extends back more than two decades. He has founded and managed several digital marketing and analytics agencies which were subsequently acquired by major companies like Yahoo! and Outbrain.


The entire reason Amy was created was because nearly everyone that works in an office or corporate environment has to schedule meetings daily, weekly, or at the very least, monthly. No one finds this task fun or exciting; it is merely time consuming.


There haven’t been too many who have tried to address this pain point, and of those who have, most did not succeed. They didn’t succeed because people don’t want an app or extension for scheduling their meeting; they want a human assistant, yet most cannot afford one. The idea of building an intelligent assistant who can incorporate natural language was the catalyst for the creation and birth of Amy.


When this artificial intelligence goes global, her name will likely change, as different cultures must be embraced. Amy is referred to as ‘her’ by many; if you visit you will see many addressing her in this manner.


Referring to a machine in this way brought Dennis to discuss the fact that the way technology is delivered and perceived is currently changing. He believes that apps are not the future of technology, but rather, “The future is one of intelligent agents.” Once that future arrives, how do we address these artificial intelligences? It seems that the answer is already becoming clear.


Artificial intelligence also has a role to play in the realm of marketing. It will not only serve as a method of productivity enhancement through eliminating common tasks, but will also allow sales to be automated. Currently, humans have to take the time to meet with others and pitch their product or service. In the near future, artificial intelligence agents will be able to carry out these presentation at much higher volumes, without human intervention.


This possibility led Elliot to question if that type of future puts people’s jobs at risk. Dennis has quite an optimistic viewpoint of the changes to come, as he explained,


“My hope is that we will end up removing chores that humans just don’t deserve to do and can then do much more fulfilling tasks.”


This doesn’t mean that many jobs will not drastically change or even be eliminated. But instead of worrying about the jobs that will disappear, rather think of how many might be created. Artificial intelligence trainers were not something that existed four years ago, but do today. Additionally, there is no data to suggest that we will be working less anytime soon, so there isn’t too much reason to worry.


Artificial intelligence will soon change the way we interact, market on a global scale, learn, and so much more. You can learn more about the potential capabilities of artificial intelligence, if they have or will have consciousness, and the next big thing in technology by checking out the podcast in its entirety.


While you’re there, don’t forget to check out another recent podcast and soak up Giuseppe Caltabiano’s insights on Global Content Marketing for B2B companies.


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