The evolution of machine translation

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The presentation for MCDM, University of Washington class on the evolution of machine translation. Made in Marsh 10, 2010

The presentation for MCDM, University of Washington class on the evolution of machine translation. Made in Marsh 10, 2010

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  • Multi- and bilinguals UN (6 languages), EU (23) Many languages are endangered
  • First idea in 1930s by French and Russian scientists Case of Enigma and translation is like decoding First translation in 1954 in USA – from Russian to English (word by word “brute force”) IBM 701 Supervening social necessity – military, intelligence
  • METEO provides weather forecasts in French and English for the whole of Canada. Starting at 7,500 words a day in 1977 New market disruptive innovation Reaching non-consumers
  • New research centers in USA, including UW – high expectations ALPAC - the Automatic Language Processing Advisory Committee – silent years New PC and new wave of MT development
  • Development of Internet from 1990s and growth of information flows as supervening social necessity New method – statistical MT (finding analogues in bilingual documents) AltaVista Babelfish (rule based), and later Google Translate (statistical translation)
  • Supervening social necessity – growth of Internet and information volume and migration, tourism Language disbalance among users and content Hundreds of millions of Arabic speakers, only about 1% of the text on the Web is in that language
  • Future: - mobile translation speech translation cyborg translation


  • 1. Evolution of Machine Translation: Tower of Babel 3.0
  • 2. Translation 1.0
  • 3. “ Robot brain translates Russian into King’s English” – IBM, January 7, 1954
  • 4. 1 st success METEO® in Canada
  • 5. Machine Translation Adoption Yanishevsky, A. (2009)
  • 6. Translation 2.0 Liako (2009)
  • 7. English - 27.6% of Internet users
  • 8. Translation 3.0
  • 9. Credits:
    • Video:
    • Batesnorge. (2010, February 01). Berlitz – Coastguard. Retrieved from Google/Youtube.
    • GoogleVideos. (2010, February 17). Translation in Google Goggles Prototype. Retrieved from Google/Youtube.
    • Pictures:
    • Acjeppo. (2009, June 8). Become a Global Citizen. Retrieved from Yahoo!/Flickr Inc.
    • IBM Inc. (1954). [Picture of Electronic analytical control unit IBM 101]. Retrieved from
    • Gareth Harper (2008, January 6). Forecasting stone. Retrieved from Yahoo!/Flickr Inc.
    • Yanishevsky, A. (2009, April). The Emerging role of machine translation. PROMT. Retrieved from
    • Liako. (2009, July 13). Google Translate. Retrieved from Yahoo!/Flickr Inc.
    • Global Web Index. (2009, November 26). Infographic #001 – Global Map of Social Web. Retrieved from
    • Presented by Sam Aitymbetov
    • MCDM, University of Washington
    • [email_address]
    • Creative Commons, non-commercial usage is allowed