For the translators amongst us


A Friday afternoon before the session and Teija feels under pressure from all sides. Parliament is back in full swing and translation jobs are piling up. Last-minute assignments for early next week keep coming in. There are rules on translation deadlines, but their respect is rather the exception than the rule.

A lot of it is humdrum donkey work. A hundred times adding a comma here, crossing out a word there. Since they invented that tool to make it easier for Members to table amendments, documents from parliamentary committees just keep getting longer and longer. Most of those amendments end up in the bin anyway, but every Member wants to be the one who tabled the most.

Machines are taking over anyway. There is more and more machine translation. Sometimes Teija feels that she is little more than a human spell-checker. Will they still need translators in a couple of years? The management has come up with all sorts of new tasks – subtitling, podcasts, radio… Teija hasn’t been trained in any of these things, but what worries her most is that nobody seems to know where the journey will take her.

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