Professional automatic translation – how does it work?

Translation systems are powerful and useful tools, especially when global companies are concerned. Today, those systems’ possibilities are virtually limitless and in no way resemble the rough and literal translations we had to deal with a few years ago. The high degree of accuracy can be achieved thanks to artificial intelligence which supports computer-assisted translation engines. Let’s check how it works.

Advanced translation systems mean significant improvements and cost reduction in many industries. Just imagine an e-commerce platform that offers several hundred new products a day and serves customers from around the world. Due to an automatic translation process it would be possible to, for example, add product descriptions in the language of each consumer in just a few seconds after publication. Such accurate and effective technology is the result of work on improving machine translation which dates back several decades.

Translation software – then and now

The first, simplest translation programs were based on dictionaries and translated text and exchanged word for word, which usually failed to convey the real sense of the sentence. That is why linguists began to implement complicated rules of natural language into the system, which gave rise to rule-based translations. Such methods worked better but they could still be used for simple texts only. This is due to the very nature of a language we use on daily basis – it is often devoid of strict rules. While speaking and writing we use numerous exceptions, break grammar rules or use local dialects. The eureka moment came in the 1990s when computer-assisted translation was improved and statistical type solutions were developed. This type of phrase-based machine translation, although not flawless, has dominated the industry up until now.

Artificial intelligence drives change

Machine translation is changing before our very eyes, mainly due to artificial intelligence (AI) technology. Although many people have only a vague idea about it, it is at the touch of a button, even on a smartphone. It is artificial intelligence that makes the device’s system recognise the same people in photos and combines pictures into collections. AI also suggests to us which products we may like, e.g. when shopping in an e-store or what movie is worth watching on the VOD platform.

Chatbots and other virtual assistants are also equipped with artificial intelligence that responds to customer queries. Such solutions ensure high performance, continuous availability and provide an easy way of collecting and analysing even large amounts of data. It not only saves time, but also reduces costs and errors. The easiest way to define AI technology is to consider it as a field of computer science which enables systems and machines to perform tasks that were usually reserved for humans. Currently, artificial intelligence is used in many areas of business. It is employed by marketing, IT, HR, e-commerce, accounting and translation industry.

Machine learning and translator replacement programs
AI technology is currently developing in many directions while systems are being improved so that they make the best decisions – similar to the way a person would do. Machine learning is one of the fastest growing fields of artificial intelligence. According to Deloitte, by 2021, companies’ spending on AI technologies and machine self-learning will be five times higher than in 2017 – $57.6 billion in total. Machine learning: things are getting intense

By definition, machine learning enables systems and machines to improve by collected data, experience and models as well as to acquire new knowledge on this basis. This means that automatic translation, assisted by self-learning algorithms, is becoming more consistent and accurate. What’s more, it works especially well when there are very large amounts of texts to be processed and their manual translation would be time-consuming and expensive. Algorithms quickly learn patterns and then draw conclusions and make decisions, supporting the work of translators who oversee the process. It enables companies to provide almost instant and multilingual remote customer service or communication in an international organization.

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