Earth's 7,000 Languages Soon Machine Translatable

Machine translation usually needs huge datasets to work its magic, preferably involving identical texts Rosetta Stone-style. New work from German academics breaks fresh ground.

Today, Ehsaneddin Asgari and Hinrich Schutze at Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich in Germany say they have done just that. Their new approach reveals important elements of almost any language that can then be used as a stepping stone for machine translation.

The new technique is based around a single text that has been translated into at least 2,000 different languages. This is the Bible, and linguists have long recognized its importance in their discipline.

Consequently, they have created a database called the Parallel Bible Corpus, which consists of translations of the New Testament in 1,169 languages. This data set is not big enough for the kind of industrial machine learning that Google and others perform. So Asgari and Schutze have come up with another approach based on the way tenses appear in different languages.

Computational linguistics has had a profound impact on our understanding of language, the way it varies around the world and how machines can understand it. This emerging discipline has made it possible to automatically translate many languages directly into others in written and spoken form. Indeed, the promise is that instantaneous machine translation will soon match and then outperform the ability of human interpreters.

Star Trek fans recall the Universal Translator that can translate between ordinary english and an obscure, never-before-seen tongue - lizardese! In the 1967 episode Arena, Captain Kirk is whisked off to a distant planet to battle a creature never encountered before by humans - a Gorn. (Skip to 45 seconds into the trailer if not a Trek fan.)

(Star Trek Arena trailer)

Note that the translator works immediately. Compare to the more realistic (hah!) translator discs from Larry Niven's 1970 masterpiece Ringworld:

The tattooed one made a short speech. That was luck. The autopilot would need data before it could begin a translation...

Presently the discs were filling in words and phrases...

Via MIT's Technology Review.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/14/2017)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" machine translation deep learning ")

Earth's 7,000 Languages Soon Machine Translatable
Bet this method would work with Gorns.



Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.






Current News

Save Your Brain's Connectome, Upload Yourself Elsewhere
'You've got remote storage. How regular is the update?'

TMS Decreases Belief In God, Increases Belief In Immigrants
'... setting up the same currents, the same basic ideas, in them all.'

Loomo Mini Transporter Robot Companion You Ride On
'Slowly the [robot] horse raised its head, wiggled its ears, blinked twice, gave a tentative whinny.'

Soft Robotics - Now With 3D Printed Sensors!
'A series of chemelectric afferent nerve-analogues, which permitted it to gauge to an ounce the amount of pressure necessary to snap a bone...'

AI Tool Lynx Insight And The Cybernetic Newsroom
'The structure,... was once a great homeostatic newspaper, the New York Times. It printed itself directly below us...'

Espresso Telescope Searches For Exoplanets
'These instruments were the wonderful ones our astronomers had perfected.'

Dune Fans! Metal-Organic Frameworks Make Science Fiction Real
'Dew collectors,' he muttered, enchanted by the simple beauty of such a scheme.

Manned Maneuvering Unit From 1984
'The glittering little rocket bolted to the black iron behind him.'

Astronaut Gets Younger In Space
'So what we're looking for now is not an antibiotic - an anti-life drug - but an anti-agathic, an anti-death drug...'

Blockchain Used To Verify Election Results
'Any adult could punch into the phone his or her code, followed by a yes or no.'

IJOP Integrated Joint Operations Platform China's Minority Report?
'All day long the idiots babbled, imprisoned in their special high-backed chairs...'

HushMe Bluetooth Device Reinvents The Hush-A-Phone
'Talking into a hush-a-phone which he had plugged into the telephone jack...'

Ultrathin Brain Needle Developed At MIT
Putting drugs into a selected cubic millimeter within the living brain.

Tesla Semi Truck Now At Work
Why wait? Tesla Semi now hard at work.

Illustris: The Next Generation Of Universe Simulation
'This digital device was ... A machine able literally to contain the Universe Itself...'

Scaly Yet Soft Robotic Snake
Love those robotic sneks.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise | - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.