Google Translate can never replace humans: UAE Minister

Top Stories

Google Translate can never replace humans: UAE Minister

Dubai - Al Nahayan highlighted UAE's emphasis on translation through major initiatives to enhance the knowledge base in Arab societies.


Sherouk Zakaria

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Thu 20 Oct 2016, 4:57 PM

Last updated: Thu 20 Oct 2016, 7:24 PM

Emphasising on the role of translation in promoting tolerance across cultures, UAE minister said electronic engines can never deliver the same power of language.
Speaking during the keynote address of the Dubai Translation Conference on Thursday, His Excellency Shaikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, emphasised the role of translator's in today's world.
"As an individual culture opens itself to the acquisition of knowledge about others, the very culture of the community changes. 
"Its outlook broadens, its curiosity sharpens, its understanding deepens, its respect for others increases. This cannot happen without translation," said Al Nahayan.
He added that translation is not just the words and ideas, but also the cultural context of the target language, which makes it an important tool in bridging gaps among people and cultures.
"The whole world should understand the challenges facing the professional translator.  Translators must execute the so-called cultural turn."
He added, "Google Translate and other electronic translation engines can never be accurate substitutions for a good human translation."
Al Nahayan highlighted UAE's emphasis on translation through major initiatives Abu Dhabi and Dubai takes to enhance the knowledge base in Arab societies.
"In fact, our distinctive cosmopolitan environment in the UAE can lead us to think of translation as every act of explaining anything to anyone, even in one's own language."
The country also focuses on making important works in Arabic available to readers outside our region, he noted.
According to UNESCO's Index Translationum, although the Arabic language has been ranked fifth most spoken language in the world, it occupied the 17th on the list of original language translation and 29th on the top 50 list of target languages.
Abdulla Abdul Rahman Al Shaibani, Secretary General of The Executive Council of Dubai, said the figures indicated shortcomings of Arab speakers in the region.
"At the same time, the figures indicate the size of opportunity we could invest in if we had the will to put the Arabic language in the position it deserves," said Al Shaibani.
He noted that translation has opened doors to the young generation.
"If we thought more about it, without translation, this generation wouldn't have lived through Hamlet's internal struggle and critical questions or King Lear's pain and regret, or Macbeth's ambitions."
That is why, he noted, it is important to emphasize the importance of translation since knowledge "is the first step towards freeing the mind and breaking stereotypes."
Expressing similar thoughts was Her Excellency Shaikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance, translation goes beyond the words.
"It is our way to understand others and interact with their culture and civilization to enrich the human knowledge. It promotes tolerance, dialogue, understanding and acceptance of other values, through which we can cooperate and stand in solidarity," said Al Qasimi.
The conference, which takes place Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences with numerous workshops and sessions to enhance translation skills, continues until October 22.

More news from