No shift in machine translation technology has progressed quite as rapidly as the latest hype: neural machine translation. But is it really as promising as the reports make out?
The standard joke about machine translation is that perfect MT is just five years away, and has been for fifty years. Just how true that statement is has become apparent in the last year as claims about MT progress have undergone one of their periodic bouts of hyper-optimism. In this case, the cause is neural machine translation (NMT), a technique that uses computer neural networks – an artificial intelligence approach that is designed to mimic the function of neurons in brains – to translate text from one language to another.
An examination of the technology by Common Sense Advisory (CSA Research) shows that it does represent a significant improvement over the previous state-of-the-art phrase-based statistical machine translation (PbSMT) systems that continue to dominate the industry, but some developers and tech reporters oversell the technology. To understand why NTM is important – ...
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