Dear Translators and Interpreters in Transn:
Greetings! Happy 2018, and I wish you all a healthy, happy, and prosperous new year ahead.
In retrospect to 2017, as we faced with rapid changes in the market and increasingly stringent demands from clients in terms of quality, delivery time and cost; each and every one of our translators, interpreters and staff at Transn worked harder than ever before. On behalf of Transn, I would like to express our sincere gratitude to all the translators and interpreters that have collaborated with Transn. It is your support and dedication that have built Transn into what it is today.
2017 should be regarded as the year of rebirth for the translation and interpreting industry. With the rapid advances of artificial intelligence, the translation and interpreting industry is being reborn and, as it were, beginning a new era. On December 11th, Premier Li Keqiang entered the translation and interpreting industry for the very first time–giving us hope and entrusting us with a mission–hence, the new era.
2017 also marks a turning point for us, in which we’ve gone from ignoring the existence of machine translation to being terrified of it. This year, deep learning AI has entered the translation and interpreting industry in an unprecedented way, with a vast scale and more diverse applications than ever before. In terms of general and simple information, the average translation level of machines is already coming close to that of a junior level translator. This is an inevitable trend, and we must face it.
Yet, AI is not omnipotent. Language, serving as the carrier of culture, has four functionalities: signal, information, communication and the transmission of culture and expertise. It is entirely possible for the signal and information functionalities of language to be replaced by AI, but the part where language is being perceived, felt and communicated as well as the part where culture and expertise are being transmitted, cannot and will never be replaced by AI. I believe that in the near future, many people will come to realize this: AI is not a substitute for humans, instead, it complements us, as no AI can exist without humans.
Translators and interpreters needed in the era of AI are required to carry out cultural exchange based on a deep understanding of society and culture. They also need to carry out the transmission of civilization and technology based on a deep understanding of their expertise. The role of translation companies, along with that of translators and interpreters, is changing. In order to face and greet this era of transformation, Transn is actively creating the Internet of Languages, so that every role in this industry can innovate.
December 11th, 2017 is a memorable date for the entire industry. This was the day when Premier Li Keqiang visited Transn. This was the first time that our country’s premier stepped into a translation company, and the first time that a translation company appeared on Xinwen Lianbo (CCTV’s flagship daily news program). Premier Li Keqiang’s visit highlights the “going out” strategy of our country, and the importance of the key supporting service industry for cultural exchange as promoted by the Belt & Road Initiative. Premier Li Keqiang stated that translators and interpreters serve as envoys in spreading human civilization across the globe. He agrees with the idea that “machine translation does not serve as a substitute, but rather as a collaborator, to translators”, and has told me that we must “vigorously promote this point of view”. It was at that moment that I realized how much emphasis the premier has placed on this vision, and how high his expectations are.
Therefore, I propose to mark December 11th as “Transners’ Day”. “Transn” not only refers to a company, but more importantly, it represents the spirit and mission of translators and interpreters: translators and interpreters are not simply converting the words, they’re here to transmit and spread the spirit, hence, “Transners”.
Today is the first day of 2018, and our translators and interpreters have started the new year working behind the scenes. They might be working in cross-border cooperation, or on a major project, or on a transnational cultural exchange…. Regardless of what it might be, they are working with ingenuity to pass on the spirit of “Transn”.
To some extent, translators are independent knights-errant who are even unable to disclose what they’ve translated. This is the reason that Transn regards our translators as “Yi Ke” (translators-errant). PE Cloud, a platform set up by Transn for our “Yi Ke”, helps translators to feel the power of freedom and to use AI to their advantage. At the same time, this will also help create a platform for socialization, and a stage for presentation, among translators.
Looking ahead to 2018, we know the industry is undergoing transformation and being reborn. Although there will be challenges ahead, as long as we stand side by side and forge ahead together, I believe we can ultimately make the best with what we have in this era, live up to the expectations of the premier, and act as envoys in transmitting and spreading human civilization across the globe.
Finally, many thanks to all of our translators and interpreters for your hard work and dedication. I’d also like to extend our gratitude to your wonderful family members. We wish each and every one of you a happy and healthy new year, with much luck, happiness and love.
Henry, here with you at Transn
January 1st, 2018