Machine translation gets specialized

To follow up on my last post about the transformation of the translation industry, I was just sent a press release from a maker of statistical machine translation, Language Weaver, regarding a new product they and across Systems will be releasing in 2008.

The product is software designed specifically for German/English translation of content that falls within the mechanical engineering, construction, automotive manufacturing, and plant construction industries.I know; it’s a mouthful.

But the gist of it is this: It’s machine translation and workflow software designed specifically for an industry.

The quality of statistical machine translation (SMT) is easy to poke fun at when you rely on the mass-market free translation engines. But once you begin to optimize the SMT engine for a specific industry, where context and terminology have been narrowed considerably, the quality suddenly gets respectable.

Statistical machine translation software and translation workflow software are about as intimidating as software can get.

Traditionally, companies have had to exert a great deal of time and energy to customize machine translation and translation workflow products to their specific industries. But I think what Language Weaver and across are doing is a sign of things to come.

And this is great news for customers because it will allow them to see the benefit of this software sooner rather than later.

Says the release:

“New digital content continues to flood the manufacturing industries. With this package, we deliver significant productivity right out of the box, already customized and integrated with a translation management system — the hard work of aligning data for the machine translation already has been done for manufacturing companies of all sizes,” says Kirti Vashee, vice president of sales and marketing for Language Weaver. “So it gets easier and faster for translators to access appropriate translations for manufacturing industry phrases and sentences, which have a technical language orientation. That helps companies to bring products to market faster and provides the functionality for translation of content that has never before been translated.”