We gathered some professions that no longer exist due to automation and looked at the future of others, including translators.
Today, it goes without saying that broken bowling lanes are picked up by an automated handle. But some time ago, those handles didn’t exist, so there were hired workers for that purpose. This work was mainly done by teenagers and children.
Human alarm clock
Before the invention of alarm clocks, people hired workers to knock on their bedroom window at the desired hour. This profession was especially popular in England and Ireland, where the workers were called “Knocker-Uppers”.
We press a button with the desired floor number and the elevator takes us there. We don’t need help for that, do we? But it wasn’t always that easy, so there were employees who operated the elevators and stopped on the ordered floors.
Before modern telephony, there was a profession where workers had to connect calls manually. Their job was to connect the telephone plug-ins to the appropriate sockets – thus connecting the caller to the desired person.
Larger factories had an employed entertainer reading the newspaper to the workers during work. We have an easy solution for that today – radio!
It is also interesting to see how series, mainly popular with women, came to light. In Cuba, women worked in cigar-rolling factories. In order to make working a bit more fun, someone would read novels to them. Later they would listen to those stories on the radio. This evolved into the now-famous telenovelas we can watch on television screens.
Today, these professions no longer exist because they have been replaced by different devices that have made life easier. It is also important to note that such occupations were usually performed by people with lower education or even exploited children.
In the late 18th and early 19th century, a luddite movement emerged that opposed automation. It was then that workers began to lose their jobs as they were replaced by machines. In protest, they were destroying machines, burning down warehouses and demolishing factories. Luddism was the first known resistance to automation, but it didn’t really achieve their goals.
But what is the future of humans in the workplace?
The fear that automation would completely replace human at work is unnecessary.
OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) estimates that in the next 15 to 20 years, 27 percent of jobs will undergo major changes, but the machines won’t replace humans.
About a quarter of jobs will slowly be eliminated from everyday life – these are mainly occupations that do not require knowledge of more advanced skills (just like the examples above where they have largely exploited workers).
However, this does not mean that there will be fewer jobs, as new jobs will emerge at the same time.
How does automation affect the translator's profession?
Translator is one of the professions that can not to exist without human presence.
Previously, translators used to translate manually, which meant that they did not have the help that the very popular machine translators present today. Since it is impossible for a translator to be an expert in all fields at the same time, it took a lot of time just to find the right terms.
Today, however, machine translators serve as great help to the translators.
Using a well-developed machine translator saves a lot of time with research and thus can focus on the quality of the translation and the relevance of the terms.
Machine translators are already developed to the stage where they can translate some areas of expertise independently with almost no errors. Grammatically simple texts or texts intended for internal use only translate perfectly with a machine translator.
However, they cannot provide perfect grammar or the correct use of proper terms, so translators are still an indispensable part in the translation world.
With further development of automation, big changes are coming, but mostly positive ones. Many work processes will be automated, which will greatly help workers, as this will allow them to devote more time to the quality implementation of these processes.
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