Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Using Computing Might, Google Improves Translation Tool - NYTimes.com

I spent a long time in the translation industry at an agency in Oakland. I know the ins and out of human translation - setting deadlines in one language differs from another as much as their cheese does. My wife is a translator. We often have some lively conversations about the decline in translation rates or about how ad agencies and account teams don't give translation the respect it deserves.

Machine translation is improving, and as this article notes, will never replace humans. But the shear size of Google's computing power certainly helps it along.
Like its rivals in the field, most notably Microsoft and I.B.M., Google has fed its translation engine with transcripts of United Nations proceedings, which are translated by humans into six languages, and those of the European Parliament, which are translated into 23. This raw material is used to train systems for the most common languages.

Using Computing Might, Google Improves Translation Tool - NYTimes.com