Overcoming Language Barriers in Academia: Machine Translation Tools and a Vision for a Multilingual Future

Date: 
Tuesday, October 11, 2022
Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: 
Media and Technology, Websites, Mobile Apps, and Online Media, Professional Development, Conferences, and Networks, Resource Centers and Networks, Informal/Formal Connections, Higher Education Programs
Audience: 
Scientists
Discipline: 
Computing and information science | General STEM
Organization:
University of California, Berkeley, Centre for Ecological Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, University of Ottawa
Description: 

Having a central scientific language remains crucial for advancing and globally sharing science. Nevertheless, maintaining one dominant language also creates barriers to accessing scientific careers and knowledge. From an interdisciplinary perspective, we describe how, when, and why to make scientific literature more readily available in multiple languages through the practice of translation. We broadly review the advantages and limitations of neural machine translation systems and propose that translation can serve as both a short- and a long-term solution for making science more resilient, accessible, globally representative, and impactful beyond the academy. We outline actions that individuals and institutions can take to support multilingual science and scientists, including structural changes that encourage and value translating scientific literature. In the long term, improvements to machine translation technologies and collective efforts to change academic norms can transform a monolingual scientific hub into a multilingual scientific network. Translations are available in the supplemental material.

Citation
DOI:
10.1093/biosci/biac062
ISSN:
1525-3244
Publication Name: 
BioScience
Volume: 
72
Number: 
10
Page Number: 
988–998
Document:

Team Members

Emma SteigerwaldEmma SteigerwaldAuthor
Valeria Ramírez-CastañedaValeria Ramírez-CastañedaAuthor
Débora Y C BrandtDébora Y C BrandtAuthor
András BáldiAndrás BáldiAuthor
Julie Teresa ShapiroJulie Teresa ShapiroAuthor
Lynne BowkerLynne BowkerAuthor
Rebecca D TarvinRebecca D TarvinAuthor

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