IELTS® Listening Practice 63

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Listening Script Vocabulary

(Section 3: You will hear a conversation between two students and a tutor in a seminar. First, you will have some time to look at questions 23 to 29 [20 seconds]. Listen carefully and answer questions 23 to 29.)



T: Good afternoon, everybody! Right, now then, I believe it's Marina's turn to lead the seminar today. 

M: Right! Thanks.

T: So, Marina, last week at the end of our tutorial we discussed different approaches to translation and the various technological tools used in translation nowadays, and you said you would start off today's session with a brief overview of the pros and cons of machine translation. So, before we talk about voice recognition, are you going to give us an overview of machine translation? 

M: Yes, that's my plan.

T: Great. So, we established that the translation industry was transformed way back in the 1990s with the introduction of machine translations. But, did that make human translators any less important? Did they cease to exist? 

M: No, not really. Any graphic designer will tell you that 30% of their work involves modifying another graphic designer's errors. It's a similar situation for human translators; almost a third of their work is amending the errors a machine translation tool makes.

T: Right. Translation is usually seen by companies as a tiresome issue that should ideally be solved without any cost or time. 

M: Yes. Machine translation promises instant, free translation and so most companies prefer use to machine translations to protect their budgets. But the problem is that the results don't always meet the companies' standards. Machines may be fast, but they aren't necessarily accurate or consistent in their translations. It doesn't come as a surprise that when offered a free technical solution with the shortest lead-time, people usually go for machine translation, without looking at the outcome.

T: Then why do companies continue to use machine translators? 

M: Among other things, computers have the advantage over humans when it comes to speed. Most companies resort to machine translation when large amounts of content is to be translated. Machine translation is often a quicker method than working with human translators. However, a major drawback when it comes to machine translation is that, there is a loss of accuracy as a computer is doing the translating and not a native speaker of the target language.

T: You mentioned consistency before. How do machines fare with that compared to humans?

M: At times, machine translation provides a superior quality than human interpretation. This is predominantly because of the consistency in wording and style, which is the place machine translation truly exceeds expectations. But machines fail to score in choosing the right words, based on cultural nuances. They can't judge the right meaning based on the context – this is where humans have the edge.

T: Can you achieve the accuracy and excellence of human translation using a machine? 

M: Well, based on my research, the answer is an unambiguous 'NO'. Human translation is based on a systematic process and the focussed expertise of the human translator who is capable of choosing the right alternatives.

T: How do you distinguish between a good translation and a mediocre one? 

M: A good translation sounds natural and fluent. Human translation creates an artistic interpretation of the original content, with words and phrases that are rewritten and rearranged to appeal and suit the target audience. Most importantly, the essence of the content is retained, and this is possible only with a human translator, as they are aware of cultural sensitivities, tone and idiomatic phrases; this is impossible with a machine.

T: Can you explain more about why cultural sensitivity is important?

M: Sure. Cultural sensitivity is an important aspect to be kept in mind while translating. Each culture has its values woven into the language. Therefore, when translating your professional content from one language to another, it is important to be sensitive to these different cultural norms and values. 

T: Well, thank you, Marina, for that overview… Time is running out so I think we'd better move on with your main topic for today….

Hi, there!

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