My knowledge of German is a bit rusty. While I'm still able to read it quite well, I find writing German quite difficult. I've been communication with some German speaking lately and to alleviate my German writing deficiency I was helping myself a lot with Google Translate. I've come away very impressed with the quality of translations that Google Translate provides and even more by the progress Google scientists made in the past few years. While translations provided by Google Translate still require manual supervision, Google Translate is now capable of providing an intelligible translation automatically. I think automatic translation services such as Google's are already capable of increasing productivity of professional translators by at least factor of 10 and I predict that in ten years, as technology makes further strides, professional translators will become as rare as professional typist are nowadays. If you still don't believe just check the video by Microsoft Research presenting automatic simultaneous translation from English to Mandarin.
Last month 60 young people have started translation studies at University of Ljubljana. Unfortunately for them they'll be learning skills which have no future beyond some exotic use cases. I think it's irresponsible to still provide funding for this study and I'd like to call on our government to abolish this study. I'm sure some people will freak out over this proposal but software is eating the world and there's nothing stopping it!