Published: 01 December 2022

Video: "Debunking a few machine translation myths: from ‘zero-shot translation’ to ‘human parity’ and ‘no language left behind’", by Dr Félix do Carmo

Watch the full video recording of the lecture Debunking a few machine translation myths: from ‘zero-shot translation’ to ‘human parity’ and ‘no language left behind’, by Dr Félix do Carmo. The lecture was delivered on the 23rd of November 2022 as part of the Convergence lecture series promoted by the Centre for Translation Studies, University of Surrey.

Title of the lecture: Debunking a few machine translation myths: from ‘zero-shot translation’ to ‘human parity’ and ‘no language left behind’

Abstract: The amazing capacities of machine translation are supported by very rigorous and powerful research. However, science is also discourse, and sometimes scientific discourse creates myths, beliefs that are based on how terms and concepts may be used in scientific publications with no proper debate or understanding. In this lecture, I will present a critical view of three of the most influential papers from machine translation research, not criticising their scientific validity, but highlighting how their use of terms and concepts helped create myths around the power of machine translation. My perspective is that translation is much more complex than what common discourses about machine translation convey, and that we are losing sight of that complexity when we focus on the scientific achievements. My objective is to contribute to real convergence between machine translation research and translation studies by presenting a view that aims at solving current limitations of discussions about translation. I believe that real convergence can only be fruitful if translation studies contributes to the debate, bringing with it the power of a rich legacy of theories and practices that help us all understand the complexity of translation. 

Short bio: Félix do Carmo (ORCID) is a senior lecturer at the Centre for Translation Studies of the University of Surrey, where he teaches and researches the application of technologies to translation work processes and their ethical and professional implications. He is a Fellow of the Surrey Institute For People-Centred Artificial Intelligence, and an Expert member of the Surrey Future of Work Research Centre. He worked for more than 20 years in Porto, Portugal, as a translator, translation company owner and university lecturer, and he was awarded a post-doctoral research fellowship to work at Dublin City University.

Event details: The event took place online on Wednesday 23 November 2022, 2.30pm GMT.

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