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Swedish translation system gets EU funding

Tom Sullivan · 19 Jan 2010, 17:19

Published: 19 Jan 2010 17:19 GMT+01:00

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The system, which can translate a number of languages simultaneously, will be more accurate and reliable than existing programmes, says Aarne Ranta, professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Gothenburg.

"The current tools out there, such as Google Translator, do not give good quality translations. They are okay for browsing and to get an idea of what is in a text but most people would not use them to translate something important," he told The Local.

"The EU grant allows us to develop technology we are already working with into a translation tool for the internet. The plan is that producers of web pages should be able to freely download the tool and translate texts into several languages simultaneously."

The new system, called MOLTO, differs from most translation programmes, which use machine learning to learn from their mistakes. It comes with a detailed set of grammatical rules and a vocabulary database which can be adapted to the subject matter for translation.

This, says Ranta, will give the new translator an edge over competitors.

"MOLTO begins with precision and grammar, and wide coverage comes later," he said.

"We wanted to work with a translation technique that was so accurate that people who produce texts can use our translations directly."

Story continues below…

A prototype of the system will be online in mid 2010 and MOLTO will be ready for general use by 2013.

Tom Sullivan (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

19:11 January 19, 2010 by Douglas Garner
It would be nice to have translations that didnt sound like instructions written in China.
19:41 January 19, 2010 by Beynch
Can't wait to see this. Try this from English to Swedish: "After given a ballpark figure, the aforementioned rubber stamper decided to 86 the whole schabang, which in turn led the subject putting a foot in her mouth. Her father then drove a wooden stake thru heart of her paramour. A frothy confection that melts in your hand ensued." -- Can a software program do this?
20:04 January 19, 2010 by Nemesis
This is a very good EU funded project, which will increase commmunication across borders and make doing business in other countries a lot easier.
20:48 January 19, 2010 by harrylatour
Hej! Beynch,,,why would ANY translation system be expected to work with that sort of slang and illiteracy!!
21:03 January 19, 2010 by Beynch
Slang? yes. Illiteracy? No.
00:04 January 20, 2010 by Bones
From google translater: Efter att ha fått en ungefärlig siffra, beslutade nämnda gummi Stamper till 86 hela schabang, vilket i sin tur ledde föremål sätta en fot i munnen. Hennes pappa körde sedan en träpåle genom hjärtat av henne flamma. En skummande pralin som smälter i din hand följde.

00:22 January 20, 2010 by americanska
I'll bet anybody this little EU project is a waste of money and will not create anything as good as the private sector.

In 5 years they might have something comparable to google translate. and google translate will be 5 years ahead.
00:28 January 20, 2010 by CanadianInSweden
google has had many years to perfect there translator,they are constantly improving it..theres no way they will be able to match it in such a short time or with that little funding
00:35 January 20, 2010 by americanska
exactly man. So why waste the money on it. why not just let capitalism take care of it. where does the EU get their money - taxes yea?

I'd be pissed if my government said "oh we are going to start up a company to produce televisions. We know there are plenty of good ones but we really think they use too much energy so we are going to use our....i mean...your money to build some new ones that will be um.....better, because we want to put some people to work that aren't good enough to be employed. makes sense right?"
01:31 January 20, 2010 by Salmon
How can a professor in computer science and engineering lead a project about translation and linguistics respectfull fields?

and says that the translation tool will be better than google or any other machine translating, and that it will be possible to translate texts with such a tool.

The machine can never translate sense and context. And a professor in IT is out of recommending or even commenting anything regarding translation or linguistics.

They better admit its a business project.
11:24 January 20, 2010 by Beynch
@Bones: Not bad #6. I'm impressed. Although there is someting lacking in the idioms. A "rubber stamper" would best translate as "plagierare". To "86" something would be to "Slå knockout på…". "The whole schabang" is "hela konkarongen". "A frothy confection that melts in your hand" is used figuratively, not literally. I need to think about how to best say that in Swedish.
12:26 January 20, 2010 by Mucker
@Salmon: Have you ever heard of computational linguistics or natural language processing? Of course you want an engineer in charge of a project like this.
16:16 January 20, 2010 by harrylatour
The best translation systems should therefore encourage the people who NEED to use them,speak that chosen language properly.The one thing that really separates US from animals is that we do NOT communicate in grunts and snarls (OK I know that does not count for teenagers!!) Harry
23:14 February 4, 2010 by kakmonstret
Great, just try to put all translators out of work. Why do we constantly try to make human beings superfluous?!
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