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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in machine translation
Nowadays, in one way or another, machine translation (MT) is part of our everyday lives. Most likely Google made that happen, about a decade ago, by launching Google Translate, a free instant online general-purpose translator allowing users to translate any text (words, phrases, documents, web pages) in different language directions. Although the translations of general-purpose MT systems (as opposed to more specialized, domain-specific ones) may not always be of good quality (especially when morphologically rich languages or ideographic ones are involved), users still have the opportunity to get (for free) the gist of a text or a web page written in...
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The last significant breakthrough in the technology of statistical machine translation (SMT) was in 2005. That year, David Chiang published his famous paper on hierarchical translation models that allowed to significantly improve the quality of statistical MT between distant languages. Nowadays we are standing on the verge of an even more exciting moment in MT history: deep learning (DL) is taking MT towards much higher accuracy and finally brings human-like semantics to the translation process. In general terms, DL is a family of machine learning algorithms that use multilayer artificial neural networks to efficiently learn representation of high-level features from noisy...
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Neural Machine Translation (NMT) systems have achieved impressive results in many Machine Translation (MT) tasks in the past couple of years. This is mainly due to the fact that Neural Networks can solve non-linear functions, making NMT perfect for mimicking the linguistic rules followed by the human brain. However, creating machines that can adequately replicate the immensely complicated and nuanced translation styles of a professional translator is still a far cry in the field of translation technology. At KantanLabs, we are researching advanced Hybrid MT systems, which will incorporate the best of both worlds – the tried and tested traditional Statistical...
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Data entered the field of machine translation in the late eighties and early nineties when researchers at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center reported successes with their statistical approach to machine translation. Until that time machine translation worked more or less the same way as human translators with grammars, dictionaries and transfer rules as the main tools. The syntactic and rule-based Machine Translation (MT) engines appealed much more to the imagination of linguistically trained translators, while the new pure data-driven MT engines with probabilistic models turned translation technology more into an alien threat for many translators. Not only because the quality...
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It was Renato (Beninatto) who reminded me, in the ‘Future’ panel discussion in Dublin, that only eleven years ago (when the TAUS think tank was founded) nobody - in his right mind - would think about using machine translation (MT) technology on any job anywhere. And now? Now MT is everywhere. Insiders say that everyday computers translate 200 Billion words. That is 100 times more than the output of all human translators together. MT is everywhere and always there, except … well, except the professionals seem to have their doubts. That makes me think that the state of the industry could...
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Since its launch in 2007, Google Translate has brought machine translation to the masses, making it free, quick and easy, and therefore significantly contributing to the demolition of the language barriers. Now in its 10th year of existence, Google Translate is used by some 500 million people to translate 100 billion words every day. Just to give you an idea of how huge this volume is: The Oxford English Dictionary contains over 2 billion words. And, if we add to Google Translate’s volume also the volumes machine-translated by Microsoft, Baidu, Yandex and all the other free, corporate and governmental machine translation...
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The question is: are we all on the same evolutionary path? Or do some of us take different turns, make shortcuts and even arrive in different places? The TAUS Executive Forum on April 25 and 26 in Beijing opened new perspectives on translation in China that many of us had perhaps not expected. China typically copies what others have already built and done before them. Fast trains are modeled to the TGV in France, electric cars are inspired by Tesla, and fashion in China follows the trends around the world closely. So when Eric Liu of LocaTran Translations at the TAUS...
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Skype conversations can be translated in real time. Booking site reviews can be automatically translated depending on your language preference. Business emails written in Japanese can be rendered in French in just a couple of seconds. If you cannot read street signs in Tbilisi, Georgia, just take out your smartphone and it will guide you to your destination in whichever language you choose. Language barriers should not stop you anymore, modern technology is here to help! Machine translation is slowly but surely establishing its presence in our everyday life. While the average consumer only giggles when coming across weirdly translated phrases...
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On 15 March, the Imperial Riding School Renaissance Hotel in Vienna was transformed into a battlefield of ideas on new trends and topics related to translation automation during a TAUS Roundtable meeting. The Roundtable was organized around questions on the market viability of translation data, on innovative ways of measuring localization effectiveness and on machine translation quality. In the previous TAUS World Tour, participants debated certainties and uncertainties for the future of translation. They concluded that certain content will keep growing explosively, that there is a shift towards speech, video and mobile devices and that the pressure to real-time delivery  is...
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Until a year or two ago, post-editing of machine translation (PEMT) was considered a taboo, like sex, religion and politics. Professional translators were refusing to post-edit machine translation output, partly because of the low quality of machine translation engines and partly because they were raging against machine translation the same way they had raged against CAT tools some 20 years before. Language service providers, on the other hand, still hadn’t figured out the best practices for using and offering machine translation and PEMT services. Ignorance of what PEMT really entails and its difference compared to revision can be considered the common...
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On April 30 and May 1, the European Association for Machine Translation (EAMT) sponsored a two half-day workshop on training translator trainers to teach machine translation. The objective was to provide trainers with the necessary understanding, confidence and skills to teach machine translation to translators. The SALIS department at the Dublin City University organized the workshop and the presenters were Prof. Andy Way, Prof. Dorothy Kenny, Dr. Sharon O’Brien, KantanMT’s founder and chief architect Tony O’Dowd and Markus Foti from the European Commission’s DGT machine translation team. The latest on machine translation and a brief lesson in extraterrestrial languages Prof. Way...
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We are living through one of the most decisive moments in machine translation history. The funding landscape in Europe is changing dramatically: the MosesCore project concluded the series of support projects for the Moses system funded by the European Commission. Now the project has come to an end, Moses as a commercial MT solution is on its own. You can refer to the recent TAUS blog post for more details. On the other hand, MT is changing. The new deep learning paradigm is on the verge of breaking the quality barrier, which MT opponents have long cited as their main argument.   The deep learning...
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The Five-Year Race to Tokyo 2020 Started at the TAUS Executive Forum. The goal: Beat Google. We have heard this story many times over the past sixty years: in five years from now, the computer will produce fully automatic high-quality translations. The story goes back to January 1954 when enthusiastic researchers in IBM’s headquarters in New York told the press about the first experiment with MT that they just concluded in cooperation with scientists of Georgetown University. If all goes well, the electronic brain will be ready in five years to translate all of the Soviet Union’s documents into the Queen’s...
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After decades of funding of European research in language and translation technology, the new European Commission wants to turn off the money tap. European researchers are staggering and they wonder why. One theory is that the politicians feel it is money wasted. Despite a diligent European investment program in machine translation, US corporations seem to have won that battle. Let Google and Microsoft run with it, you hear Andrus Ansip thinking. Ansip is Vice President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Single Market. He’s got a lot more on his plate. He will be held accountable for a rapid...
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During a previous interview with Tilde, back in November 2014, we discovered how the Baltic company quietly yet emphatically succeeded in conquering a prominent position on the language technology market with its linguistic tools and with Tilde MT, a machine translation service specifically developed for smaller, complex languages like the Baltic, Scandinavian, and Central and Eastern European languages. Now Tilde is rising above expectations one more time with the Translate 2015 project aimed at supporting the 2015 EU Presidency with a variety of ad hoc applications. In the spotlight After its independence in 1990, Latvia has undertaken a long - but...
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Last Friday, the Goethe Institute in Rome hosted an event organized by the Italian section of the DGT, in cooperation with AITI, Unilingue, STradE and Biblit, to celebrate the European Day of Languages. The event’s leitmotif was the evergreen “present and future of translation”. The congress was aimed at translators young and old and at students who are considering a career in the field of translation. A funny, old world During the morning program the few joys and many woes of literary translation were discussed at length and four of the six workshops planned for the afternoon were centered (again) around...
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The business week that just ended started with the announcement of a new translation company, Mirai Translate, an Asian joint venture between NTT DoCoMo, Systran International, and FueTrek. For those who in these last few days didn't catch up with the news, here is the official press release of this new adventure in translation technology. Alternatively, you can read our take underneath. The Players The Japanese telecom company NTT DOCOMO is the major investor in this deal with 51 percent of the shares. Besides providing secure mobile services to over 63 million mobile customers, DOCOMO has been offering translation services for some time now,...
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Shortly after the first TAUS roundtable was held in Moscow back on May 22, a huge heat wave has moved in over the Moscow region to kickstart the official summertime in the European part of Russian Federation. By now, the first two summer months are over, and the weather in MSK is finally starting to cool down slowly after reaching the extremes of +35C (95 F) during the daytime – so I feel it’s a good time to look back and review some takeaways of that eventful spring day I’ve spent together with fellow globalization professionals from around the globe who...
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Or Time is on our Side Sometimes it is very rewarding to think in terms of decades, centuries and millennia. Not in a fatalistic way, like ‘in the long run we are all dead’. But in a positive way, thinking that there is direction and meaning in what we do. Psychologists say that our brains are mostly occupied by sex, what we eat, what we wear and now… what we share, on Facebook, all on the same day. You can’t erase the evolution from our body and our brains. In the beginning we were hunters. At work we have become farmers,...
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We have interviewed Amélie Blumerel, Lead Linguist at Version Internationale, one of the LSPs contributing to the TAUS Post-editing course and certification. Amélie Blumerel, has been coordinating Version Internationale’s efforts to improve the post-editing skills of both internal and external teams. You will be able to listen to Amélie and ask her questions in our Post-editing webinar for French on 18 June 4PM CET. For more information on this new TAUS webinar series, please click here. Enjoy the interview! When did you first start post-editing? It must have been just over three years ago. One day, I was allocated a post-editing...
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We have interviewed Amélie Blumerel, Lead Linguist at Version Internationale, one of the LSPs contributing to the TAUS Post-editing course and certification. Amélie Blumerel, has been coordinating Version Internationale’s efforts to improve the post-editing skills of both internal and external teams. You will be able to listen to Amélie and ask her questions in our Post-editing webinar for French on 18 June 4PM CET. For more information on this new TAUS webinar series, please click here. Enjoy the interview! When did you first start post-editing? It must have been just over three years ago. One day, I was allocated a post-editing...
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  Tars drives the streets of Moscow in his Hyundai taxi twelve to sixteen hours a day, if he can. “Moscow is all work”, he says in broken English. Tars is from Fedorovka in Bashkortostan, some 1,400 kilometers away from Moscow. Back home he speaks Bashkir with his two brothers and his mother. He hopes to go and see them in June. It will be more than a day travel by train. In Moscow he speaks Russian. He also knows a bit of Mari and Tartar, two other languages that are spoken in his native country. Tars thinks we are from...
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The great Hockey player Wayne Gretzsky  said his secret to success is this:  “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”  Today in business we call this strategy “planning for the end game.”  Lately I’ve been thinking – is the translation industry positioned for the end game, or are we following the puck, hoping to catch up, but losing ground in a rapidly accelerating world of technology? This raises an even  more compelling question: If the statistical approach to Machine Translation is falling short of the goal, how do we find a new approach...
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I am a translator and interpreter and I am worried about how we fit in the “translation industry” of the future.  Many freelancers have lost sight of the skills we need to update to remain relevant and productive in the 21st Century. In the virtual instant village of the 21st century, the need for multilingual content is expanding at exponential rates and yet, many translators are finding it progressively difficult to earn a decent living. A large number feel underappreciated by society at large and by the client in particular. Translators have lost sight of the changes occurred in the “means...
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Let me start out by saying that I love Machine Translation. There is just something magical about inputting text which is totally foreign to you on a computer screen, clicking a button and then reading it in your own language. If you are lucky enough to own your own MT server or software, like I do, and can adjust dictionary terms and create language rules, it becomes even more magical. I am somewhat of an authority on MT, having spent four years of my life developing software and workflows around MT. We developed a product, the GTS Wordpress Plugin, which translates...
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“English Please” or Machine Translation? A debate between Lane Greene and Nicholas Ostler about the future. I am a big admirer of Nick's, let me say from the start! I am not as confident as Nicholas Ostler is in the future of machine translation as a replacement for a lingua franca.  Both speech recognition and translation have to make major steps forward before anything resembling the Star Trek universal translating device (or Douglas Adams's Babel Fish) is anything close to reality.  I spend a lot of time translating idiomatic phrases I find in German writing through Google Translate, and while the software...
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The announcement in December of the sale of Systran – the grandmother of all MT – to CSLI Co. Ltd. in Korea sent a small shock wave through the translation technology sector. Is Systran giving up after some forty years of chasing the holy grail of fully automatic high quality translation? Or is this the best deal that one could expect? The question also creeps up: is there a market for MT, really? On the one hand we see MT everywhere, mostly as a free service or utility on web sites and in apps, soon also in the Google Glass and...
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