Merrill Brink News Reviews and Opinion on May 13, 2013: The Increasing Capabilities and Value of Machine Translation

London, UK (PRWEB UK) 13 May 2013

Quick recap of MT history

Machine translation (MT) has undergone a transition in recent years and evolved into a practical resource to translate large volumes of electronic documents. Once tied to notions of being arbitrary and impractical, machine translation is now a useful entity for translation in the market place.

The technologys improvement came gradually with the rise of computer technology in the 1980s and 1990s. Machine translation innovation has come through commercial and academic ventures such as the establishment of the Center for Machine Translation System at Carnegie Mellon University in 1986 (now known as the Language Technologies Institute), and the founding of the International Association for Machine Translation.1 A wider range of systems is being used throughout the world, and with that rise in usage comes the need for tighter parameters of acceptance. The National Institute of Science and Technologys MT benchmarking program is one example of a group that evaluates the quality of output translations.

Best use and value of MT

Today, machine translation is capable of significantly reducing cost in translating large volumes of document, and helps identify documents that require human translations. A reliable automatic translation can dramatically help in legal matters in litigation eDiscovery, patent prosecution, and patent litigation; where searching for responsive documents and data are critical.2 All innovations aside, machine translation still serves and complements human translation for areas where only a cursory impression of a passage is needed.

Human Translation is still more reliable and accurate

Human translators clearly have much more advanced abilities and accuracy to translate text and collate them all together to convey the meaning of the documents content. The major impediment to effective machine translation has long been the need to translate not just the component words of a document, but the overarching meaning of the text, including idioms, cultural connotations and technical specifications.3 Human translation still serve its role, but working in conjunction with machine translation post editing (MTPE) services can help augment the confidence in the final quality of a piece. Machine translation services is readily available to the public through major search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing, but the results to even the most basic queries can still come up differently for each of them.

MT evolution continues

The international machine translation industry is prepared to evolve quickly as modern technology and language continues to change. Rule-based machine translation has emerged where accumulated banks of grammar, and specific terminology are used to translate and emulate human-quality levels.

In addition to rule-based efforts, some services use statistical translation algorithms that match common phrases together and generate more literal translations. Modern machine translation uses a combination of the two techniques resulting in output that attempts to get close to human level, whilst also justifying work carried out on building up content identification sources.

It is important to note that not all machine translation recognises all languages. Check with your language service provider the list of languages they can accept.


1 The Language Technologies Institute,

2 Foreign Language eDiscovery Translation: Human Translation Versus Machine Translation,

3 A Translation Automation Timeline,

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About Merrill Brink International

Merrill Brink International ( is a leading provider of complete translation and language solutions for global companies and law firms, with special expertise in serving the legal, financial, life sciences, software, heavy machinery and corporate markets. A proven leader with more than 30 years of experience, Merrill Brink offers a wide range of language solutions including translation, localisation, desktop publishing and globalisation services.

Merrill Brink is recognised in the industry for its commitment to quality and its pioneering approach of leveraging technology to reduce costs, eliminate redundant processes and accelerate translation life cycles. Merrill Brink is certified to ISO 9001:2008; ISO 27001:2005 and ISO 13485:2003, and registered to EN 15038:2006 and ISO 14971:2007. Together, these standards provide assurance that the most stringent process and quality standards for translation are followed. Merrill Brink International is a wholly owned subsidiary of Merrill Corporation.

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