Wednesday, 28 March 2012

machine translation for minority languages

In Mash-up aids translation of obscure languages New Scientist describes a project from Universidad Politécnica de Valencia to extend machine translation to "minority languages".

The intent is to create translations which are "unlikely to be grammatically correct, and may contain unusual spellings, but it should be understandable to a minority language speaker" by choosing words from related languages for which machine translators are available.

The article reports on a test in which content was translated from Swedish to Spanish in this fashion, and that the authors "plan to test the system with a minority language, even though it is often hard to find native speakers to take part in experiments."

According to the article, David Yarowsky, of Johns Hopkins University says that "the rise of the internet means that languages with less than a million speakers will struggle to survive."

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