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Benefits and Limitations of AI-Generated Translated Captions

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In a world where effective communication is vital, artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as a new player in bridging the language gap and expanding language access. The swift rise of AI has transformed the landscape of the language industry and language professionals are increasingly implementing AI tools into their workflows. While AI adoption is at an all-time high, it’s important to understand that there are a handful of language professionals who express skepticism towards the technology.

In our State of AI in Language Services Report, 42% of language service providers reported a positive impression of AI, while 39% reported a neutral or cautious stance. Only 19% of respondents expressed a negative view of the technology, indicating a general openness to the potential benefits and applications of AI in their operations.

In the coming years, it’s expected that AI will continue to be integrated across the language industry. But among a vast pool of exciting innovations, our report found that AI captioning and AI translation have emerged as the most reliable AI tools for language services. From its applications down to its benefits, let’s dive into why these technologies are perceived as such.

What is AI Captioning?

AI captioning is the process of converting audio to text in real time. Think of automatically generated subtitles whenever you watch a live or recorded video. AI captioning generates captions by combining natural language processing and computer vision to process an image and describe it in words. Its capabilities can provide and optimize language support in various settings such as online meetings, conferences, and even recorded training sessions.

What is AI Translation?

AI translation (also known as machine translation) is a process that uses AI algorithms to convert spoken words or text from one language into another. AI translation works by analyzing the structure and context of words and phrases, using natural language processing (NLP) techniques to generate accurate translations. As cross-cultural interactions become the norm, this technology is rapidly gaining relevance since it has the potential to break down language barriers and facilitate seamless communication for events, settings, and interactions that have multilingual participants.

How Do AI Translated Caption Tools Work?

AI-translated caption tools utilize AI captioning and AI translation algorithms to generate multilingual captions for live events, videos, and more. As an example, tools such as Boostlingo AI Pro use AI captioning to convert spoken words into text and AI translation to provide translated captions to over 130 languages. Paired with seamless integration with popular meeting platforms (Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Meet, and more), AI-generated translated captions can enable attendees of webinars, online meetings, and hybrid events to participate in the event in their preferred language. Additionally, the capabilities of AI translation allow meeting transcripts to be converted to different languages and downloaded instantly after a session ends.

Applications, Examples, and Use Cases of AI-Generated Translated Captions

According to the LSPs we’ve surveyed in our report, AI’s reliability in the language industry varies depending on the specific service in question. For interpretation which often requires nuanced understanding, cultural contexts, and real-time processing, it’s only natural that language professionals express skepticism. But in the case of captioning services, there’s a more balanced distribution of opinions.

 

Overall, AI can provide valuable support for routine and low-risk tasks, one of which would be captioning. As it stands, AI captioning is perceived to be a highly versatile tool that can serve a wide range of applications. Here are some popular use cases of AI-generated translated captions.

1. Live Events and Meetings

AI captioning can expand accessibility at live events by providing real-time translations for event speakers. Whether it’s at an online business meeting or conference, AI-powered live captioning can ensure that all attendees can fully participate in the event in their preferred language.

2. Educational and E-Learning Platforms

AI-translated captions can supplement lectures, training courses, and other educational materials. Schools can use the technology to help international or limited English proficient students participate in classes, understand their assignments, and engage in other school activities. Organizations with a diverse employee population also have a lot to benefit from AI-translated captions since HR departments can use AI captioning to boost their employee training and onboarding efforts.

3. Caption Translation for Video Content

Content creators and marketing departments of organizations can leverage AI-generated translated captions in their videos to cater to a wider audience.

Benefits of AI-Generated Translated Captions

Following the use cases above, organizations that use AI-generated translated captions can experience several benefits. In our survey, 44% of LSPs reported integrating AI tools and 27% reported using AI captioning tools. Of those, 60% reported that AI has improved the quality of language services they deliver. Let’s dive into some of the benefits that AI-generated translated captions can provide to different end users.

1. Rapid translations for live event participants

AI can provide translations in an instant which can be very useful for events and conferences that have multilingual participants. For instance, let’s say that a multi-national company with headquarters across different countries has decided to hold an online training conference on cybersecurity. As employees from different linguistic backgrounds listen in on the seminar, AI captioning can help them understand what the speaker is saying in their preferred language without delay.

2. Improved interpreting performance for language professionals

84% of remote interpreters we surveyed in our whitepaper mentioned that using AI marked an improvement in their workflows and quality of interpretation services. In the case of AI-generated translated captions, AI captioning has helped interpreters improve the quality of their interpretations.

The use of AI captioning has been beneficial for interpreters for tasks like notetaking, understanding accents, and validation when dealing with long speeches. In our report, one interpreter shared that they were able to take notes more effectively and refer to the captions for accuracy, reducing their cognitive load. Other interpreters shared that captioning allowed them to understand and distinguish the message of speakers with strong accents. Lastly, interpreters also used AI-generated translations as a point of comparison with their interpretations.

For virtual or hybrid events that require simultaneous interpreting, the translations that AI captioning provides can help interpreters determine the best way to interpret a speaker’s message. Overall, AI captioning for interpreters can significantly boost the quality of interpretations, paving the way for smooth and seamless communication.

3. Enhanced reach and inclusivity for content

For recorded content, AI captioning can greatly improve a resource’s mileage. If a company needs to produce training videos for a diverse employee population, it can utilize AI-generated translated captions to ensure that viewers can comprehend the course seamlessly. In addition to improved engagement and content reach, this can also foster a sense of inclusivity within an organization.

Limitations of AI-Generated Translated Captions

AI-generated translated captions may offer significant advantages but it’s important to acknowledge that the technology also has its limitations. While AI offers speed, users note that its accuracy can sometimes be compromised, emphasizing the need for post-processing checks. The limitations of AI include but are not limited to:

1. Possibility of misinterpretations

It’s important to understand that AI lacks the contextual understanding that’s inherent in human interpreters. Given that factors such as a speaker’s expressions, body language, and the like can change the intention of a message, AI may not be able to navigate through these complexities, and this can lead to misinterpretations.

2. Accuracy concerns amid cultural nuances and sensitive settings

Cultural nuances are complex and varied, making it challenging for AI to capture the intricacies within a given message. This highlights reliability concerns for contexts and settings (e.g. medical, legal, and educational) where cultural sensitivity is of utmost importance. Occasionally, AI tools may provide out-of-context terms that don’t align with the conversation’s flow, and this can disrupt the interpreting process.

3. Adaptation to Evolving Languages

Given the dynamic nature of languages, AI systems may face difficulties in adapting to emerging slang and cultural shifts. Additionally, AI captioning tools have trouble translating rare languages resulting in lower-quality translations. While AI algorithms will continue to advance through the years, evolving terminologies can pose challenges in producing accurate translations and interpretations.

Expanding Language Access Through AI Captioning

As artificial intelligence continues to revolutionize the language industry, AI captioning holds immense promise for both LSPs and interpreters. While different stakeholders may have mixed sentiments about AI’s impact on the language industry, its potential to bridge the language gap should not go unnoticed.

AI is currently in its infancy stages and has significant limitations that only humans can overcome. With that said AI should not be seen as a replacement for human interpreters, but as a tool that can maximize the expertise of language professionals. AI will continue to revolutionize the language industry so keeping up with its development and understanding the State of AI in Language Services will allow you to stay ahead.

In case your organization requires an AI captioning tool, subscribing to Boostlingo AI Pro will be your best decision. Designed for interpreters and live events, Boostlingo AI Pro offers an all-in-one solution that can overcome the limitations associated with AI translations. Interested in learning more? Feel free to contact us today!

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