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A Survey of Interpreting Services Users about Preferences for Interpreting Modes: Human vs. AI vs. Subtitles

  • The Journal of Translation Studies
  • Abbr : JTS
  • 2023, 24(3), pp.591-614
  • DOI : 10.15749/jts.2023.24.3.019
  • Publisher : The Korean Association for Translation Studies
  • Research Area : Humanities > Interpretation and Translation Studies
  • Received : August 13, 2023
  • Accepted : September 19, 2023
  • Published : September 30, 2023

Munjung Bae 1

1한국외국어대학교 통번역대학원

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In this study, a survey was conducted of users of interpreting services to find out which mode of interpreting they preferred the most. Forty Korean employees of a foreign financial institution in Korea, who work with interpreters on a regular basis, participated in this study. Participants were instructed to answer questions on two different settings of interpreting: conference and in-house interpreting. In the conference interpreting setting, participants were asked to choose between human interpreting, AI interpreting and subtitles after watching an English speech with the three modes of interpreting into Korean. They liked subtitles the most, followed by human interpreting, and AI was the least preferred. Accuracy of interpreting was found not to be a decisive factor in user preferences because AI was the least preferred despite being the most accurate. That said, accuracy still influenced their choice as participants preferred human interpreters more when they were more accurate. The reasons participants chose human interpreters over AI included natural tone and comfortable voice. In the in-house interpreting setting where the choice was between human and AI interpreting, human interpreters were favored over AI for their ability to engage in open discussions, their knowledge of the internal matters of the company, etc. These results show that user preferences are influenced by a variety of non-linguistic factors while users certainly value accuracy of interpreting. This suggests that it is the very human qualities that give human interpreters a competitive advantage over AI, and that there is still significant demand for these uniquely human roles.

Citation status

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