The machine translation technology created by the University of Latvia and enterprise “Tilde” has become the best translation in Latvian and other smaller languages, surpassing such companies of worldwide recognition as “Google” and “Microsoft”.
A new neural machine translation technology has been developed in cooperation between “Tilde” and the University of Latvia Faculty of Computing. The technology is especially suitable for flection languages (e.g., Latvian, Estonian). This scientific achievement demonstrates the ability of Latvian researchers to reach and even outperform the level of the world's leading research organizations and companies.
"Machine translation technologies are basically oriented and developed for large languages with less flection, therefore the specificity of small languages is the one that allows smaller groups of researchers to find their niche in the field of machine translation," asserts Dr. sc. comp. Jānis Zuters.
The UL researchers mainly dealt with pre-processing and post-processing of language-specific texts to improve the quality of translation.
“Machine translation is very complicated computer science problem. If in many areas the computer reaches and even surpasses what a person can do, then machine translation is different – it is very far from being able to translate at a human level. This is a field, where there still is a lot to do,” explains J. Zuters.
Machine translation is a very practical and instantly usable scientific achievement. Presently, the latest improvements are incorporated in “Tilde” Translator.
As neural networks are used in machine translation technology relatively recently (competitive results appeared approximately years ago), research in this field will continue to make machine translation as accurate as possible. Today, the new solution is used not only in translate.tilde.com, but also in the state language technology platform Hugo.lv and to ensure the translation at the Council of the European Union translate2018.eu, which was used by the Presidencies of Estonia, Bulgaria and Austria.
The new Neural Machine Translation Technology will receive the annual scientific achievement recognition award conferred by the Latvian Academy of Sciences. It is recognized as one of the most significant scientific achievements in 2018.