There are now many software programs for translating natural language, several of them online, such as:
- SYSTRAN, which powers Yahoo’s Babel Fish
- Promt, which powers online translation services at Voila.fr and Orange.fr
Although no system provides the holy grail of fully automatic high-quality machine translation, many systems produce reasonable output.
Despite their inherent limitations, MT programs are used around the world. Probably the largest institutional user is the European Commission.
Toggletext uses a transfer-based system (known as Kataku) to translate between English and Indonesian.
Google has claimed that promising results were obtained using a proprietary statistical machine translation engine. The statistical translation engine used in the Google language tools for Arabic <-> English and Chinese <-> English has an overall score of 0.4281 over the runner-up IBM’s BLEU-4 score of 0.3954 (Summer 2006) in tests conducted by the National Institute for Standards and Technology.
With the recent focus on terrorism, the military sources in the United States have been investing significant amounts of money in natural language engineering. In-Q-Tel (a venture capital fund, largely funded by the US Intelligence Community, to stimulate new technologies through private sector entrepreneurs) brought up companies like Language Weaver. Currently the military community is interested in translation and processing of languages like Arabic, Pashto, and Dari. Information Processing Technology Office in DARPA hosts programs like TIDES and Babylon Translator. US Air Force has awarded a $1 million contract to develop a language translation technology.
- ^ Google Blog: The machines do the translating (by Franz Och)
- ^ Geer, David, “Statistical Translation Gains Respect”, pp. 18 – 21, IEEE Computer, October 2005
- ^ Ratcliff, Evan “Me Translate Pretty One Day”, Wired December 2006
- ^ “NIST 2006 Machine Translation Evaluation Official Results”, November 1, 2006
- ^ In-Q-Tel
- ^ GCN — Air force wants to build a universal translator
Video: Google Language Tools