Could article writing in translation soon be done by machines? In India, the National Translation Mission has recently launched a machine translation service to automatically translate texts in combinations such as Urdu to English
. Meanwhile, the new Waygo app is just the latest of many computerised solutions for translation Chinese to English
. But while these sorts of machine translations may serve as tools to get a rough idea of the content of a foreign-language text, anyone who has read about the errors made by Western tattoo artists who use Chinese symbols will know how badly translations can go wrong if done by non-experts. That’s why complex translations, such as article writing, require a professional translator with excellent judgement and creativity. Just one reason for this is because of another type of article writing: the two languages already mentioned, Urdu and Chinese, do not use definite and indefinite articles where English would require them. For article writing in English translated from one of these languages, the translator will therefore often need to be more specific than the original and decide which article to use: and no machine can do that.