Machine translation: Can it be used to translate travel industry content?

by Manuel Herranz There have been strong opinions for and against machine Translation over the last few years. Whilst the general public has become a keen user of free online services, professional translators have poured bitter criticisms against the technology. Understandably, because the language industry is a small industry compared with other sectors where automation took place years ago (automotive industry, printing, telecommunications, to name a few). The Internet and in general any industry based on electronic communications has added to the increase in demand for multilingual websites, which means more translation for eCommerce sites and website translations. There are many supporters of machine translation technology because of the many advantages and problems it has solved where a translator could not be at hand and human translation was not an option. See the video celebrating Google Translate’s 10 years. But it has also gained something of a bad press, particularly […]

About MT & smartphones, speech recognition and hybrids

by Manuel Herranz February’s event has been Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress, but not only for those interested in mobile/cell handsets as a means of communication. The accent has been on the convergence of technology. Whereas pixels and cameras, email or videoconference dominated some years ago, and social networking not so long ago, 2010 has proved that cloud computing, harnessing vast server resources may be made available in your pocket soon. Translation is bound to be just one of those services. Shouldn’t our mission become “to help the world communicate faster“? Open Source programs like Moses have made it possible to democratize access to machine-translation technology and open the playing field. More importantly, Moses has made MT customizable to a very large degree, so one can build all-in “hybrid” systems without the need to resort to nice-sounding cocktails of rule-based and statistical machine translation systems. In reality, there is little need to integrate […]

Google’s image-to-text translation in Barcelona

by Manuel Herranz Something is moving in the convergence of handheld devices with integrated, on-demand technology. Social networking on the mobile phone has soon been transferred and Facebook, Twitter as well as other cool apps are almost omnipresent even in medium range mobile sets. After all, transferring a 21st century technology (social networking) to a 20th century invention (mobile phone), may present some technical difficulties, but as long as we are dealing with digital technologies, someone will find a way. Language, however, is a different matter. Some bilingual apps for mobile phones have been available for some months (such as the impressive Sakhr’s Arabic app for the iPhone with speech recognition  or Jibbigo’s English-Spanish. Some are based on the old dictionary idea. Other, such as Toshiba’s (we reported in December 2009) want to integrate translation real time. Now, Google is also having a go at it. At this week’s Mobile World Exhibition […]

Toshiba Offers Translation System for Cell Phones

by Manuel Herranz If you are traveling to  East Asia, you may soon be able to turn to your mobile phone and use it to obtain on-the-spot quick, easy and cheap translation if you use  a new application from Toshiba. This development follows the announcement by Fuji that they will manufacture glasses with translation capabilities (reported in Pangeanic’s blog in November from Toshiba has now developed a trilingual translation system with voice recognition and synthesis. It is compact and light enough to be installed in a cell phone. Unlike the glasses or other existing applications for the iPhone, the software doesn’t offload processing to a more powerful server on the network but performs the task inside the phone. This speeds the whole process and avoids potentially costly data roaming charges if you are using the service abroad. The software is a reduced version of a PC application that Toshiba already […]