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Pioneering Machine-Aided Translation

  • Organization: IBM
  • Author: Salim Roukos
  • Document Type: Article/News
  • Date Created: Monday, June 13, 2011
  • Submitted: Monday, June 13, 2011
  • Attachment(s): LINK

Even with the advent of gigahertz processors and gigabyte memories, machines still fall flat when they try to translate languages. The latest programs, for example, provide intelligible results-but only in the comfortable range of use for ordinary e-mails and business web pages.

Part of the reason is that not only do many words in every language have more than one meaning, phrases can have both literal and idiomatic meanings, making translations by non-native speakers a delicate exercise in avoiding embarrassment and worse-confusion. Add to this the considerable problems presented by individual style and context-not to mention the impressive range of meanings humans can inject into any single word, from love to sarcasm to humor-and you can readily see why even the most advanced machines still struggle to replicate the skill of an experienced human translator.

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