MT and the Cloud (Pt. 2)

Part 2. The Benefits of Cloud Machine Translation
In the first part of this blog, we covered the growing popularity of cloud technology among small and medium sized enterprises, particularly in Ireland. In this second and final part, we’re going to learn more about how SMEs can benefit from using Machine Translation in the cloud.

In 1989, a symposium on Japanese to English Machine Translation was organised by the United States Department of Commerce. Its purpose was to discuss items such as market prospects and user needs within the Machine Translation industry. One of major outcomes from the symposium was this,

“Machine Translation technologies pose a range of theoretical, software, hardware, and even sociological problems that require integration of technologies and improved interactions among developers and users…the dream that stimulated early R&D efforts was a machine that produces high-quality translations from a wide variety of source texts at low cost. Even the most ardent supporters of Machine Translation agree that three decades of effort have not produced the breakthroughs necessary to achieve this dream”.

You would have to wonder if the symposium’s participants would be saying the same thing now. That’s because cloud technology provides a solution to a number of points raised in the above quotation. Let’s see how.

Lock and Key
Low Cost
The symposium’s participants said that creating high quality translations at low cost was the dream.  So why was Machine Translation so expensive? The answer cannot be attributed to just one or two aspects of the Machine Translation process, but rather its entirety. Traditionally, if companies wanted customised Machine Translation engines, they would have to source their own hardware, software, and engineers in order to get the system up and running. Next would come security, maintenance, and updating the translation engine when necessary. None of these things came cheap.  A cloud based Machine Translation service provides the hardware, software, security etc., and companies can access it when they need to. High Machine Translation costs, which would have served as a major deterrent to SMEs in the past, have been diluted by these developments. Affordable means accessible.

Integration of Technologies
The symposium also called for the “integration of technologies and improved interactions among developers and users”. Cloud technology helps to provide this interaction because it accommodates software tools such as Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). KantanMT’s API for example allows a company to use KantanMT technology within its own localisation workflows. In simple terms, a company can use the cloud to build a translation engine with KantanMT technology and this engine can then be integrated into a company’s localisation workflow. The ability to produce customised engines using the cloud is essential to realising the second part of the symposium’s dream – “high quality translations from a wide variety of source texts”.

High Quality Translations
As mentioned earlier, to build a customised engine and keep it updated/trained using traditional methods is an expensive business – especially if a company is targeting consistent high quality translation outputs. One of the major benefits of using the cloud is that it is a two way street. So far, we have only spoken about the advantages of Machine Translation providers being able to share their technology with a company. But what about the advantages of a company being able to securely upload its data to a cloud Machine Translation platform? If we use a Localisation Service Provider’s (LSP) interaction with KantanMT’s platform as an example, we can highlight a few;

  • A company can upload files to secure, individual client profiles on the KantanMT platform, meaning that the company can build client-focused and customised engines that are relevant to specific domains in a matter of hours
  • Rather than an LSP having to provide and maintain security over its clients’ files, a company can upload client files to KantanMT’s data storage facility which is completely secure and accessible only to the account holder via a secure account name and password
  • By uploading high quality Translation Memories to its KantanMT engine and retraining it with post-edited translation outputs, a company can produce progressively improved translations specific to their clients’ industries
  • KantanMT Analytics identifies segments of data that require the most post-editing work and its Gentry file parsing technology can fix repeating errors in documents

In conclusion, over the course of this two-part blog, we have discussed the growing popularity of cloud technology among small and medium sized enterprises and the benefits for LSPs in using cloud Machine Translation services. As cloud technologies develop, companies will continue their expansion into international markets. Machine Translation has a pivotal role to play in this expansion as LSPs work to meet growing demands for multilingual user documentation that is cost efficient and produced at a pace that facilitates the continued expansion of their clients.

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