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Language access inequality undermines human rights

Language access inequality is a glaring issue that disproportionately affects asylum seekers and refugees. Machine translation is not capable of conveying what human translators can, and institutionalizing computer translation programs in public sectors can create disastrous consequences. This article discusses the importance of human translators in sensitive contexts and suggests ways to address language access inequality.

Translation vs. Interpreting

Translation is written, and the translator has more time to research on the specific terminology and correct expressions to render the exact meaning into the target language. Interpreting is oral, and the interpreter has to resort to their short-term memory to convey an as accurate meaning as possible into the target language according to the occasion. The translation, once delivered, or printed, cannot be amended, whereas the interpreter can “amend on the spot” if they feel that something is not quite right (although this does not happen in simultaneous interpreting).