What is Real-Time Machine Translation?

Real-time machine translation refers to the process of a computer reproducing the reasoning characteristic of the human mind that allows for simultaneous real-time translation. Translation is based on interpreting the meaning of language or an action, and it takes a lot of work for our brains to conduct this analysis and consider the nuances of the specific situation. While computers have not yet mastered this activity, developments in real-time machine translation are bringing us closer to smarter, reactive, and more culturally aware devices. Currently, real-time machine translation is useful for quickly translating a written work into another language and deriving a general notion of text or audio. Systems have been designed that listen to student speech, and coach (or rate) a student’s speech for pacing, tone, dialect, and accuracy of pronunciation. Statistical machine translation is a sub-field that explores the use statistical methods to instantly interpret one language and translate it into another. (Google Translate uses this approach.) The low cost of and ease with which these services can be embedded in websites has made them very popular. In the next generation of machine translation, machines will be able to understand and interpret the personality behind speech, text, and gestures. Ray Kurzweil, a major thought leader in the area of machine translation, believes that before 2030, machines will reach a sufficient level of understanding of human written and spoken communications to allow for seamless and highly accurate translation. While not at that level today, the state of machine learning has advanced considerably in the past few years, and now has a great many applications in learning, teaching, and global communications.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Probably stating the obvious, but this technology can enhance accessibility, particularly for the part of every museum's strategy that mentions being part of the global community. I believe museums will be followers here; we don't need to invest big time and money into this technology, let the telecom companies and big entertainment make the strides, we'll follow on the coat tails by adopting what works best. - dhegley dhegley Nov 3, 2014- jludden jludden Nov 4, 2014
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(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on education and interpretation in museums?

  • Especially in Europe this technology is very useful as our museums need to communicate in different languages. Beside the fact that by real-time machine translation, work on translations could be done more efficiently, this technology can be helpful in resolving problems of visual pollution (printed text in different languages can be replaced with digital solutions) in museums as well. Further, even if you have a panel text translated into 3 different languages, a visitor, speaking another language will probably visit the exhibition. Last time I was speaking with an employee from Parlamentarium, The European Parliament's Visitors' Centre (http://www.europarl.europa.eu/visiting/en). Our discussion was about challenges they have with constant changing content that should be translated into 24 European official and working languages. - kaja kaja Oct 29, 2014
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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