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Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Department of English Distinguished Lecture Series

Prof. Xin Shang

The Hidden Obstacles for Artificial Intelligence Translation and Human Transcendence: From the Perspective of Translating Shanghai-style Cultural Texts

Monday 22 January 2024, 11:30

Venue: E22-G015

All are Welcome


In the current situation of rapid development of intelligent technology, people have shaken the competence of human translation, and thus have raised many doubts about the cultivation of translation talents. The present talk starts from the perspective of cultural text translation and analyzes the intelligent technology (ChatGPT, Baidu Translate) translation products of Shanghai style culture. It explores the implicit obstacles of intelligent technology in cultural text translation and presents the differences in text background and context processing capability of intelligent technology translation. Research has found that the fundamental reason for the differences in the above aspects is that although intelligent technology has obvious advantages of efficiency and flexibility, it is difficult to generate sufficient associative power in text background issues, which in turn affects the accuracy and appropriateness of translation. The ability to associate with communicative backgrounds is an intellectual barrier that intelligent technology cannot overcome, and it is also the scale at which human potential always surpasses artificial intelligence. Based on the above analysis, the present study believes that the cultivation of translation talents will not be outdated, and the direction of translation talent cultivation is to cultivate translators’ technical control and post editing abilities beyond intelligent technology; And this puts forward higher literacy development goals for translators in terms of their capabilities of intelligent technical control, text analysis and cross-linguistic comparison.

Key words: artificial intelligence; cultural texts; translation; hidden obstacles; human transcendence



Xin Shang, Ph.D., professor and doctoral supervisor, is the dean of the School of Foreign Languages of Shanghai University, the head of the first-level discipline of foreign languages and literature, and the head of the national first-class English undergraduate program construction. His academic affiliations include executive director and vice president of the China Association for Comparative Studies of English and Chinese (a national first-class society), vice president of the Translation and Interpretation Committee of the China Association for Comparative Studies of English and Chinese, vice president of the Shanghai Society of Scientific and Technological Translation, and executive director of the Shanghai Society of Foreign Languages and Literatures. He was a visiting scholar to McGill University in Canada and Ohio State University in the United States. His main research fields are language comparison and translation research, semantic and syntactic research. He has presided over or completed two projects of the National Social Science Foundation of China, one project of the Humanities and Social Science projects of the Ministry of Education and one project of the Social Science projects of Shanghai Municipality. He won the second prize of Shanghai Philosophy and Social Sciences Outstanding Achievements (Monographs), the first prize of the Undergraduate Teaching Achievement Award of Shanghai University and has participated in over ten scientific research projects at the national level, provincial and ministerial levels as well as contract research projects. He has published more than 50 articles in CSSCI indexed core journals and SSCI, A&HCI indexed journals such as Target, Foreign Language Teaching and Research, and Foreign Languages, and some of these articles have been reprinted in full in Yuyan Wenzi Xue by Renmin University’s China Social Science Excellence database. He is author of 2 monographs, 3 translated works, 7 edited books, 4 edited textbooks, and 2 introductions and commentaries to the world’s philosophical classics.