An overview of machine translation

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O'Donnell, Patrick
Issue Date
BSc in Computer Science
Dublin Business School
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Machine Translation is the application of computers to the task of translating texts from one natural language to another. Machine translation was one of the earliest goals of computer science and has been proven to be very hard to create. It falls under the heading of Natural Language Processing, a subcategory of Artificial Intelligence. Today there are a number of systems that while not perfect are useful in certain situations. The term Machine Translation comes from when research was first started into this area and nowadays can be described by a lot of terms such as 'Natural Language Processing', 'Artificial Translation', or the more traditional term 'Machine Translation'. At the present there is no software package that can by itself provide high quality translations, but there are a number of software packages that can help translators increase productivity when translating repetitive texts such as technical documents. There are also software packages that can produce rough translations. For example Machine Translation is used within the European Commission to give a rough draft of a text. The Internet is also proving to be a huge stimulus for Machine Translation, with hundreds of millions of pages of text and a global public.