MT and the French Riviera

By Laura Casanellas

This month I found myself in Nice, at the heart of the French Riviera, discussing Machine Translation (MT) and surrounded by experts in the field of MT and localization. As a member of Welocalize’s global Language Tools Team, this was a great opportunity to learn about the latest advances in MT.

I attended the Machine Translation Summit XIV, the international conference which takes place every two years, bringing together important names in the area of MT from the European, Asian and American sister associations.

In the world of localization and translation, MT is a growing phenomenon. Successful MT deployments are on the up. Perception around MT is rapidly changing; whereas a couple of years ago people would have focused on quality of MT output (or the lack of it as they saw it), nowadays what users want to know is how to make it work. This approach is helping the time, cost and quality equation which is always at the centre of every localization business. As more digital content is created and the possibilities of making it accessible to different locales become tangible, many companies are beginning to understand that not every type of text needs to be translated to the same level of quality. Once this level has been established, time to market and cost can be adjusted accordingly. The role of MT is becoming more significant as a consequence of the dramatic increase in volume of content.

The subject of MT is spreading into the commercial world. Proof of this was the large presence of commercial users among the conference attendees.

I presented at the MT Summit together with my colleague Lena Marg. Lena is in charge of training our language force on Post-Editing practices. In our presentation, “Connectivity, Adaptability, Productivity, Quality, Price….Getting the MT Recipe Right” we explained Welocalize’s practices around MT and what we consider are all the necessary elements to create a successful Machine Translation program.

Olga Beregovaya and Dave Clarke from Welocalize Language Tools Team also took part in the Summit; delivering a joint presentation with Dr. Alon Lavie, CEO of Safaba Translation Solutions, CMU research professor, a highly regarded figure in the world of MT. The presentation was entitled “Analyzing and Predicting MT Utility and Post-Editing Productivity in Enterprise-scale Translation Projects”. This presentation set out the joint Welocalize – Safaba research which has begun to identify the effect of features in ‘real-world’ content on post-editing efficiency and predictability, such as: presence, retention and placement of tags; recognized terminology; do-not-translate lists and more.

For the first time ever, this MT Summit showed a slightly higher attendance figure of industry and user representatives over the academic; with a high proportion of participants attending the user track presentations. This is a clear sign that the commercial world is following academics and researchers and that MT is becoming main stream.

The strategy of Welocalize is to keep abreast of all technological advances that are currently taking place around language tools in general and in particular, MT. Using and deploying the new technologies around MT that we identify as having true potential commercially.

You can view the presentations by visiting:

Another MT case study will be showcased at the forthcoming Localization World Silicon Valley, 9-11 October. “Silver Linings Playbook – Intuit’s MT Journey” will be presented by Render Chiu from American Software company, Intuit and Tuyen Ho, Welocalize’s Senior Sales Director for North America. Render and Tuyen will be talking about how Intuit and Welocalize architected an MT program that supports the enterprise, and successfully met an aggressive product launch schedule.