The value of translation in the era of automation: an examination of threats

Akiko Sakamoto

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Starting from Goldberg’s (2018) claim that the symbolic value attached to cognitive professions is threatened by automation, this chapter approaches the threat of automation and translator anxiety from a sociological perspective. The chapter highlights the task of ‘pattern recognition’ in translation as an important factor related to the value of translation. The chapter argues that incompatibility between the nature of the task and machine translation(and related automated practices) is causing translator anxiety. This is supported by data from a focus group that included 22 translation project managers working in Japan. Three concepts are addressed:morality, money, and suffering. The conclusion addresses the fact that the traditional value of translation will not align with the future of the translation industry and scenarios of translators’ survival are explored.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWhen Translation Goes Digital
Subtitle of host publicationCase Studies and Critical Reflections
EditorsRenée Desjardins, Claire Larsonneur, Philippe Lacour
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-51761-8
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-51760-1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2020

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in Translating and Interpreting
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan


  • translation studies
  • translation technology
  • sociology of translation
  • automation


Dive into the research topics of 'The value of translation in the era of automation: an examination of threats'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this