Category Archives: Technology

Xerox breaks down language barriers with translation service –via International Business Times


Recognising language as one of the biggest barriers to communication in a world that’s becoming increasingly connected, Xerox has launched its Easy Translator tool that promises comprehensive translation services straight from its machines in real time.

The brand, now synonymous with photocopying, offers its services in more than 35 languages and allows subscribers to scan documents in, say, English, and produce copies in any of its other supported languages.

In addition to the real-time machine translations, Xerox employs over 5,000 translators and offers its services in three levels of expertise: Express, which employs machine translation followed by human editing; Professional, which, according to Xerox, is ideal for contracts and proposals, which is translated and edited by a highly trained, well, professional; and Expert, where the documents are translated and edited by field-experienced, um, experts.

To read more of this article courtesy of the International Business Times —> click here



Google Translate Now Has More Than 100 Languages And Covers 99 Percent Of The Online Population –via Tech Crunch


Google’s online translation tool hit a major milestone today as it nears its 10th anniversary. After adding 13 new languages, including Hawaiian and Kurdish, Google Translate now includes more than 100 languages (103 to be exact).

Google claims that this means the service, which started in April 2006, covers 99 percent of the online population.

The idea for Google Translate was first planted in 2004, when co-founder Sergey Brin became frustrated with a translation program the company was licensing after it translated a Korean email into “The sliced raw fish shoes it wishes. Google green onion thing!”

To read more of this article courtesy of Tech Crunch —->click here


Does rise of machine translations threaten interpreters? –via ECSN.CN

If, as the Chinese proverb states, “to learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the world”, Chinese search engine Baidu has provided the country with a portal that puts the earth at their fingertips.

Earlier this month, the Baidu Translate app was given a top national science award for their work advancing machine translations in a rarely seen honor for internet companies.

“It earned the honor for its technological merit and social significance,” Wang Haifeng, vice president of Baidu, said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua.

“The Baidu Translate App can recognize text, voices and even pictures. For example, travellers can take a photo of the menu and the App will read the menu and do the translation.”

Wang has led the research team for Baidu Translate over the past six years. He said the software can now translate between 27 languages, currently has 500 million users worldwide and responds to over 100 million translation requirements everyday.

It is often used by online retailers to translate product descriptions, saving them the cost of hiring translators.

And it is expanding quickly, taking them only about 11 days to launch a new language, Wang said.

“We collect bilingual data on the Internet, the computer will then study the data automatically and form translation models accordingly,” he said.

But the rapid development of machine translations has raised concerns that translating jobs may soon be endangered or whether learning a second language will soon be useless.

Zou Tingfang, an interpreter involved in legal work, believes machine translations are unlikely to beat translators in the foreseeable future.

“I resort to software when doing translations, but I never use it when interpreting. Machines still have many limits,” she said. “Language, especially when spoken, is lively and dynamic. Machines cannot handle changes as adequately as human beings. For example, when interpreting, one word can have more than ten meanings depending on the occasion. Machines still cannot precisely distinguish different contexts.”

But machine translations can be accurate for translating languages with fixed context, such as billboards, online games or contracts, she said.

To read more of this article courtesy of ECNS.CN—>click here


Award-winning app to help tourists breach language barriers during Pan Am Games – via Nanaimo Daily News


TORONTO – Four Sheridan College students have come up with an innovative idea to breach language barriers for non-English speaking visitors coming to Toronto for the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Games.

The students are working on an app that will use a geo-tracking application to help foreign visitors connect in real time with Pan Ambassadors — local volunteers who speak their language.

Chau Le, Yee Ting Lee, Jason Smith and Leena Salem pitched the idea at Idea-A-Thon — a competition held at Sheridan College over the weekend and supported by Cisco Canada.

Cisco awarded their team — called The Fantastic Four — $10,000 to develop the app, which is set to launch in April 2015.

The app will have a map that shows the locations of all the local volunteers and tourists can zoom in on the dots and see their skills and what language they speak.

The students plan to advertise the app in major transit hubs such as Pearson International Airport and Union Station.

Whether the Pan Ambassadors will be wearing any distinguishing items of clothing or accessories has not yet been decided.

To read more of this article courtesy of the Nanaimo Daily News, click the link below.

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Why Machines Alone Cannot Solve the World’s Translation Problem –via HuffPost


By Nataly Kelly –

Sixty years ago this week, scientists at Georgetown and IBM lauded their machine translation “brain,” known as the 701 computer. The “brain” had successfully translated multiple sentences from Russian into English, leading the researchers to confidently claim that translation would be fully handled by machines in “the next few years.”

Fast forward six decades, and MIT Technology Review makes a remarkably similar proclamation: “To translate one language into another, find the linear transformation that maps one to the other. Simple, say a team of Google engineers.”

Simple? Not exactly.

Even in the 1950s, IBM acknowledged that to translate just one segment “necessitates two and a half times as many instructions to the computer as are required to simulate the flight of a guided missile.” It’s also highly doubtful that the scientists at Google see anything “simple” about their new method, which relies on vector space mathematics.

Granted, there is a beautiful simplicity in statistical machine translation, such as Google Translate. Essentially, the more data you have, the better the probability of a high-quality translation as an end result. But what do you do when you don’t have enough data? Or in the case of Google, what do you do when the data might be out there somewhere, but it isn’t part of the free and public web that you’re designed to mine?

That’s when you come up with new techniques, just as Google has done. Their new method — one that is meant to complement, but not replace their statistical approach — automatically creates dictionaries and phrase tables without help from humans. The new technique uses data mining in order to compare the structure of one language to another, and then generates phrase tables and dictionaries accordingly. This means that Google won’t have to rely exclusively on documents available in two languages to improve its translation quality. It will have other methods, such as this new one, to add to the mix.

What does this mean? Even Google isn’t satisfied that statistical machine translation will move things along quickly enough. That method has its limitations, just like all methods do.

To read more of Nataly’s article, click the link below.

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