I really liked this term I saw at TAUS, the Translation Automation User Society http://www.translationautomation.com/index.php. Putting the emphasis on the word “useful” is what discussions on machine translation (MT) has needed.
OK, we all know examples of MT shortcomings. My very old favourite is the MT system which translated the biblical sentence “The flesh is weak but the spirit lasts” into Russian as “The steak is rotten but the vodka is good” on the days before Glasnost. Machine translation is not perfect – but it can be very, very useful. Allowing me to understand what a Chinese web site is about without knowing a single character of Chinese is very useful indeed, especially when I am doing market research on China.
The fact is, there is not enough time – and definitely not enough money – to do human translation on even a fraction of the information that is being produced. So, if MT helps people to become aware of your message, it certainly should be considered as a tool, even if the result is not perfect. Useful is often enough.
Besides, there are quite a lot of MT systems available, both free and commercial ones, more than many might imagine. Several of them already do a good job on a specific topic, and can be improved further with special terminology. The Translation Guide at lists over 520 links to MT systems in 56 languages – sadly, the page has last been updated in 2003. Wikipedia offers a shorter, but more current list at . And for one great resource on MT issues, see Jeff Allen’s site at .
Exalead announced the general availability of the newest version of its enterprise search software, exalead one:enterprise, designed to provide users with a unified access point to content and data, both structured and unstructured, regardless of format or location. exalead one:enterprise 4.5 offers a new, simpler user interface with greater search refinement options, improved performance for both 64-bit and 32-bit system environments, expanded language and file format support as well as new management tools for administrators. With this release of exalead one:enterprise, customers will have the opportunity to select from three user interfaces to meet the needs of employees. These include: The UI available in exalead one:enterprise 4.0; The new, streamlined UI found on Exalead‘s Web search engine for business-related searches inside the firewall and; A white label version for organizations hoping to customize the look and feel from top to bottom. exalead one:enterprise automatically returns a list of related terms and categories for each search query that are extracted from the indexed data. This allows users to broaden or narrow a search, for example, by a document’s author, location or format. For a more personalized experience, users can choose to expand or condense the list of options for refining a search, or how the results are pre-viewed and displayed. exalead one:enterprise 4.5 offers expanded language support for Dutch. The company’s proprietary, native support covers more than 54 languages, such as Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Hebrew, Japanese and other major Asian languages. exalead one:enterprise now supports more than 320 file formats, including native support for Microsoft Office 2007. In addition to indexing these file formats. The new version of exalead one:enterprise also offers an updated connector for Microsoft Exchange. There are also new exalead one:search APIs available so that administrators can add custom capabilities using XSL (eXtensible Style Language). New reporting tools are also available to allow system administrators to learn about users’ search patterns to optimize performance and relevancy of results. A default set of reports and charts are available and administrators can also use the reporting tools to define the reports or charts they need. http://corporate.exalead.com/