Ray Kurzweil on translation technology

June 13, 2011

Will advances in translation technology ever enable us to live in a society free of language barriers? I recently had the pleasure of conducting an interview with the well-known inventor, author, and futurist Ray Kurzweil to ask him this and other questions about his views on the future of translation.

According to Kurzweil, machines will reach human levels of translation quality by the year 2029. However, he was quick to highlight that even major technological advances in translation do not replace the need for language learning. “Even the best translators can’t fully translate literature,” he pointed out. “Some things just can’t be expressed in another language. Each language has its own personality, so reading literature in the original language is going to remain better than even the best human translators.”

He noted, too, that very few people can actually master more than a handful of languages, and that ultimately, we will expand our intelligence through technologies that enable us to learn other languages more quickly. […]

Nataly Kelly from Common Sense Advisory interviews Ray Kurzweil on the future of translation technology.