Why translation technology is changing the game in workplace learning

Rachael Nemeth
Co-founder, CEO
September 12, 2022

Today’s modern workforce is not only multi-lingual, but also multi-cultural and technologically savvy. The world has become a small village thanks to the Internet, which means that workers no longer need to be restricted to their home country in order to find a job. In fact, the majority of today’s employees are working outside of traditional offices (and even outside of their own country).

Employees need new tools and technologies in order to stay productive. This poses new challenges for businesses across all industries; especially when it comes to on-the-job learning. If your company currently uses eLearning or other digital training methods for onboarding new team members or developing existing staff members, it’s time to explore alternative ways of implementing this training. And that’s why we have prepared this article for you.


What does good-quality translation technology mean for the future of work?

If your company regularly collaborates with employees who are not native English speakers, you’ve likely noticed that translation tools and technology play an important role in many different aspects of your daily operations. This technology helps you to communicate and share information efficiently with your colleagues around the world. Over the past decade, translation technology has advanced significantly; including machine-learning technology and neural networks. This means that it’s now possible to translate entire websites and documents in mere seconds; regardless of the language used. With such fast and efficient technology at your fingertips, you’re able to communicate easily between employees and partners regardless of language barriers.

However, faster and better translation technology poses a threat for employees who do not have a strong grasp of a second language. In the past, bilingual employees were vital for any company that worked internationally. These individuals could quickly and efficiently translate any necessary information between employees or clients and the company. However, with the availability of modern translation technology, this skill is no longer necessary. This means that non-bilingual employees do not need to be worried about being replaced by automation. Rather, modern translation tools actually help these individuals by providing instant translations for everything that needs to be communicated.


Is translation technology getting better?

If you’re concerned that translation technology is not actually getting better, but rather just more accessible to everyone, fear not! There are some assurances that translation technology is actually improving. For example, the technology used by Google Translate has changed significantly since its inception. This tool actually started as a piece of software that tried to mimic human translation. However, this proved to be inefficient and inaccurate.

Does Google Translate actually work?

Google Translate was then updated as an online neural network, which was able to learn and process language much more efficiently. This technology is constantly improving as more people use it. This means that Google Translate continues to get better and better with each new translation request. The more that the technology is used, the more it is able to learn. This leads to more accurate and efficient translations.


Translating is no longer a skill only for bilingual employees

The human ability to translate, which is essentially the ability to think in two different languages simultaneously, is not something that everyone is born with. Rather, it’s something that must be learned through years of practice and dedication. However, translation technology is evolving to the point where it can do the same job with less effort from humans. This poses a threat for employees who have spent years developing their translation skill. They’ve essentially been investing their time and energy into a skill that is no longer necessary. Luckily, modern translation technology can actually help these employees by reducing the amount of work that they need to do.

Utilizing bilingual employees for translation and interpreting was how businesses were traditionally, However, is expensive and taxing for the employee doing the work.

Voice recognition is more common in workplace learning

Another interesting trend that we’ve noticed in translation technology is the rise of voice recognition. Voice recognition is essentially the ability to understand human speech through a computer. While this technology has been around for decades, it has only recently begun to be implemented in workplace learning. Several companies have released virtual solutions that employees can use to get answers to questions, give feedback, and generally help them to be more productive. This technology is still in its early stages, but it could actually have a significant impact on the future of on-the-job learning. It is especially effective for employees with low literacy levels, those who are sight impaired or those who don't speak English as their first language. For example, at Opus, we use speak to text technology and voice recognition for our English as a Second Language course offering.


So what's the word?

We’ve seen that modern translation technology is actually getting better and better. This means that it’s now possible to translate entire websites and documents in mere seconds; regardless of the language used. However, this also poses a threat for employees who do not have a strong grasp of a second language. Luckily, this technology can actually help these employees by reducing the amount of work that they need to do. With the rise of virtual assistants, voice recognition is also becoming more common in workplace learning. This means that employees from around the world can use these assistants to ask questions and get the answers that they need.