language technology

3 reasons to try machine translation

1. MT may be a cheap and quick solution to understand each other

If you work in an international environment you get used to communicate with people coming from different countries and don’t realize your brain localizes automatically. But even if you know some languages, there are a lot you don’t understand at all…Few days ago I received an email written in ideograms marked automatically as spam. I couldn’t understand a word, so I pushed the magic bottom “translate”. Once I machine translated it I found out that the email was a message sent by my former Japanese housemate. She sent it from a non-localized social network that’s why part of the message was in ideograms. Without an MT application I would have just deleted it.

 2. MT works also with a lingua franca

The result I got was in German because my email is localized in this language. Even if it is not my mother tongue the MT output was useful to me. There is this debate in the NLP Industry according to which MT research should focus on few language combinations to cover faster a larger quantity of speakers. On the one hand if you use MT just to understand what the text is about this could be a good approach, on the other hand you risk focusing only on money-makers languages. Join the debate by having a look at this blog post about Nicholas Ostler’s book “The Last Lingua Franca”

3. MT won’t decrease overall translation quality.

Translation quality is different according to what it is done for. As online content is growing more and more, there is less and less time and budget for translating it. Have a look at this infografic published by SDL about how to survive in a digital content explosion world to get more information

1 thought on “3 reasons to try machine translation”

  1. This is a good summary and you quote two companies which have done some work for the advancement of machine translation. I would like to add the work on User Empowerment by providing machine translation systems to practitioners here at Pangeanic, the first translation company in the world to apply Moses successfully in a commercial settings. Some of the issues, reasons and applications of machine translation are explained in our knowledge center. Machine translation is an enhancer (productivity to translators) and also a facilitator (for free when you only need gisting):

    You may also find some of our presentations on how users and practitioners can best use MT if you search for Pangeanic in slideshare.

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