White House Challenges Translation Industry to Innovate


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White House Challenges Translation Industry to Innovate

In a recent white paper, the Obama Administration called for the development of "automatic, highly accurate and real-time translation" between major languages. The document states that the federal government intends to spend $1 billion of its stimulus package in support of innovation, such as machine translation technology. Globalization demands that companies promote their products in multiple languages, and cheaper translation is seen as a way to increase opportunities for companies to do business internationally. In a 2006 study of 2,400 consumers in eight countries, Common Sense Advisory found that 52% of those surveyed will only purchase items from a website in their own language. In addition, businesses can often cut costs by using the language of the countries where they operate. For example, when manuals for a company's products and services are offered online in the local language, clients will not need to make a customer service call. The field of human-assisted machine translation (HAMT) is showing signs of progress. With HAMT, computer programs use statistics, language rules, and similar past translations to provide a rough translation of a text. Human translators then correct errors, clarify sentences, and localize the translation for a specific audience. Some companies estimate that they have reduced translation costs by nearly 50 percent by using HAMT.

From "White House Challenges Translation Industry to Innovate"
BusinessWeek (NY) (10/01/09) Joseph, Damian

Source: ATA Newsbriefs - October 2009
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