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Friday, February 28, 2014

Will Machine Translation Ever Beat Human Translation?


The idea of a future where people can communicate effortlessly with each other in different languages, translated perfectly by machines, is a seductive one. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if we didn’t have to go to the trouble of learning other languages any more?

Although machine translation technology is evolving all the time, it’s clear that we haven’t quite achieved this utopian vision yet. But will it ever happen?

Machine translation simply means the use of software to translate text or speech into different languages. The idea has been around for a long time – researchers began working on machine translation projects back in the 1950s. The first commercial system appeared in 1991, with the first web applications following along a few years later.

Today machine translation technology ranges from massively used, free online translation services such as Google Translate, to cheap, on-the-go mobile phone apps such as Apple’s iTranslate, to rather more expensive, customizable, professional software packages such as SDL Trados Studio.
The benefits of machine translation are obvious:

  • It’s cheap - machine translation is much cheaper than human translation, and can even be done for free, depending on which service you use.

  • It’s quick - for on-the-spot translation needs, or time-critical web content such as breaking news, it’s hard to beat machine translation.

  • It’s improving all the time - researchers are continually striving to make machine translation technology better.

Read the full article here 

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