AVTE Statement on Generative Artificial Intelligence

Due to the increasing use of generative AI in many industries and for a variety of highly creative tasks, we at AVTE (Audiovisual Translators of Europe) have decided to issue our own Statement on AI regulation.

Audiovisual translation is a form of creative writing, so AVTE here follows the path already traced by creative authors’ associations such as CEATL, SAA and CISAC.
We also refer to our previously published AVTE Manifesto on Machine Translation.

AVTE is not against new technologies per se. They can benefit translators, as long as they are used for improving human output and making our work more ergonomic and efficient. What we are against is the theft of human work, the spread of misinformation as well as unethical misuse of generative AI by translation companies and content producers.

We understand that LLM-based products and technologies can be leveraged for a wide variety of applications, such as internal metadata management, terminology/glossary management, translation memory enhancement, and so on. Our immediate concern is the use of generative AI in machine translation (MT) engines, which utilises massive amounts of data (Large Language Models) to predict the next word in a sentence based on the context provided by the preceding words. Of course this is not a meaning-driven or purpose-driven translation like one done by a human.

And yet, in the audiovisual translation industry, it is increasingly seen as an adequate substitute for human translation. Or, rather, it is deemed sufficient for the human to act as a mere supervisor who patches up AI-generated machine-translated audiovisual contents (machine translation post-editing or MTPE) in order to lower costs and raise production volume.

Below, we describe from an insider perspective how post-editing machine-translated text is more of a hindrance than a help and nearly always leads to inferior results.

We’ll tackle the issue from four different but intertwined standpoints:
● The technical standpoint concerning the suitability of AI in audiovisual translation,
with a focus on some widespread misconceptions about MT;
● The perspective of sustainability for the whole audiovisual translation industry;
● The legal standpoint of author’s rights issues;
● The ethical standpoint of the impact on society.

AVTE Statement on Generative AI