Robertson Languages > Translation > Will your job be automated in 20 years?

Will your job be automated in 20 years?

Sep 15 in Translation

Sorry, Metal Mickey, but you're not having my job just yet...

A new study by Oxford University and Deloitte calculates the probability that any given job category will be rendered obsolete by machines within the next twenty years. From my perspective, that’s a handy time period to be considering – since it will take me (approximately) up to retirement. I followed the link (you can do the same if you’re keen to find out your own potential future – go on, I dare you) and was asked to type in my profession – “translator”, which spat back a 32.7% probability that I might be replaced by a robot within two decades.

This revelation sounds like cautiously good news for me (compared to, say, a legal secretary, who is apparently 99.0% likely to be supplanted by Metal Mickey by 2035 – and if you’re too young to know who Metal Mickey is, that’s what YouTube is for). Not only that, but it represents one in the eye for all those people who still think that translation is merely a question of pushing a button (usually provided by Google) to get a precise equivalent of your text in a different language. Ha.

So what criteria did the survey apply to get this figure? Well, your job is supposedly safer from being automated if you need to either (i) negotiate, (ii) help and assist others, or (iii) come up with original ideas. I don’t tend to do a lot of (i) in an average day (except with my family), and although I like to think my translations (ii) “help and assist” end clients, I doubt that’s what they mean here. So it must be the last bit (iii) about “[coming] up with original ideas”, which is in fact very much what translation is about.

Rather tellingly, the study includes translators in the same category as authors and writers… an endorsement of our creative role (read this if you’re still not convinced) which is rather refreshing, given the common public perception of the translation process as something more akin to a sausage machine.

Which brings me, inevitably, to the plug. If you found your way to this blog because you’re looking for qualified and experienced translators, you’re in the right place. Click the big red ‘Request a quote’ button above, or phone us on 0118 934 6000, to find out more about how real humans (like me) can help your company to communicate effectively with other real humans (like your clients)!


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