What is the Influence of the Augmented Reality on Translation?


If there is one constant in today’s world, it is speeding up the pace at which technology continues to advance. This remarkable rate of tech innovation is making the world a different reality. It becomes more connected and opening new opportunities for companies to enhance connectivity and operational efficiency on a global scale.


What is an augmented reality?


Augmented reality (AR) is the blending of interactive digital elements–like dazzling visual overlays, fuzzy haptic feedback, or other sensory projections–into our real-world environments.

Augmented reality is an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects that live in the real world are “augmented” by computer-generated perceptual information, sometimes across multiple sensory modalities, including visual, auditory, haptic, somatosensory, and olfactory.

Besides its well-documented ability to boost efficiency, enhance quality and improve safety in a manufacturing environment, AR-based systems can help overcome language and cultural barriers.

Understanding the depth of that barrier-breaking potential is an important first step for manufacturing professionals looking to finding the ways to expand into new parts of the globe — or to improve communication and streamline procedures across existing business units and facilities overseas.

A Universal Language


The key to understanding AR technology’s capacity to break down linguistic and cultural barriers is to appreciate how the best AR solutions use universal indicators as a key part of their functionality.

There are two factors which use today’s sophisticated AR manufacturing solutions:
– industrial-strength digital projection technology;
– specialized software to overlay a virtual operating “canvas” onto the work surface.

Video and audio cues and no-faults-forward functionality provide users with detailed direction while ensuring appropriate pacing and sequencing. Integration with specialized tools, such as machine vision cameras and torque guns, makes systems compatible with parts and processes that require extreme precision and tight tolerances. Digital “birth certificates” and detailed process data for each part allow for sophisticated metrics and detailed tracking. It makes it easy to identify bottlenecks and pain points.

While the technology is complex, the user experience needs to be simple and intuitive. In that simplicity lies the key to AR’s potential to overcome language barriers. Different languages become directly implemented into the software. It offers the system the ability to translate work instructions into the operator’s local language.

The most exciting possibility of AR is its ability to reduce the need for language-based instructions. Using universally recognized visual cues, audio cues, and haptic alerts to deliver work instructions means that processes can be of the easy access across facilities and between regions without the complexity, expense and inevitable errors of the process of translation.

The right information — provided in the right context — becomes a photo or universal image: communication stripped to its bare essentials. Instead of explaining what an operator needs to do, an AR solution can shine a light on an item to alert the operator to pick it up.

These are universal visual cues that the human brain intuitively understands immediately and distinctly, regardless of the person’s native language. AR systems provide a platform and a set of tech tools that enable us to rethink not just the way we receive information, but the information itself.


These are universal visual cues that the human brain intuitively understands immediately and distinctly, regardless of the person’s native language. AR systems provide a platform and a set of tech tools that enable us to rethink not just the way we receive information, but the information itself.


The Next Level


Manufacturers know the challenges that come with trying to replicate production infrastructures and processes overseas.

The “Copy Exactly!” method pioneered by Intel is one of the most ambitious attempts to overcome those challenges. This approach allows for the standardization of operator training, quality and maintenance procedures, material handling optimization and production targets.

Manufacturing professionals in a range of industries have already deployed AR-based solutions to great effect.

Whether it’s a linguistic hurdle or a learning gap, the potential of AR-based manufacturing platforms promises two things:

1) to provide a way for businesses to expand into new regions; 
2) improve their existing levels of efficiency and quality. That is a value proposition that needs no translation.


How Augmented Translation Affects the Language Services Industry


Augmented reality uses AI to enrich individuals’ access to relevant information about their surroundings. This transformation provides linguists with more context and guidance for their projects. They work in a technology-rich environment that automatically processes many of the low-value tasks that consume an inordinate amount of their time and energy. It brings relevant information to their attention when needed.

This computing power will help language professionals be more consistent, more responsive, and more productive, all the while allowing them to focus on the interesting parts of their jobs rather than on “translating like machines”. 

The experts predict that the approach will become more important as it drives the next round of productivity gains for human translators. Even though no single platform today implements augmented translation in its entirety. But those that implement parts of it are reporting substantial performance increases that get better over time as the systems learn from individual linguists, project managers, and customers.

The advantage for linguists is that their placement in the translation chain will change. They will influence the process of translation even more. Instead, they will control and work with all of this technology and become many times more productive. It will lower their cost per word even as it increases their value and effective hourly rate. It will relieve the tedium of translating repetitive variants of basic texts and help translators by more consistent and accurate.

This new way of working uses technologies that already exist in new combinations. it works better than waiting for some pie-in-the-sky new AI developments. It does not replace language professionals, but instead gives them the tools and resources to deliver their best value and quality. The shift to augmented translation will not be painless. But because the technology shifts to a linguist-centred perspective, it will hold tremendous potential for those linguists who want to embrace the changing landscape of technology.

These new combinations of technology eliminate inefficiencies and help linguists focus on what they well. As platforms for linguists implement the constituent technologies and figure out ways to make them more user-friendly, they will help project stakeholders become more efficient and valuable. Much as computer accounting applications have transformed accountants from bookkeepers into individuals who provide valuable insights into business processes and operations.

They will also dramatically change the face of project management by freeing up managers to focus on delivering exceptional customer service and addressing problems rather than shuffling files around.

Also, read Another Perspective: A Translation is Not