By John Newton
Translators, method designers, method operators and researchers current a entire consultant to computing device translation: its heritage, its successes, its obstacles and its capability.
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Extra resources for Computers in Translation: A Practical Appraisal
In this part of the chapter, I review the history of MT from a contemporary perspective. While the concept of mechanical translation can be traced back as far as the seventeenth century, the enabling technology for the present-day concept of ‘machine translation’ appeared less than fifty years ago. The electronic digital computer made its first impact in the Second World War. In the immediate post-War period, there was a natural move to explore its potential capabilities, and the translation of languages was soon identified as one of the obvious candidates for exploitation.
In 1977, Chandioux met with Professor Vauquois who, also agreeing with Chandioux’s vision, took the time to detail what he would have done differently with GETA’s machine translation projects were he to start all over again. Made to measure solutions 35 As no one at the University was willing to get involved, Chandioux set out to write the compiler and run-time engine himself. By 1982, GramR was operating on a microcomputer and being used in a prototype MT system to translate computer and software manuals.
The strong military influence in the emergence of MT is also interesting in retrospect. A prime area for MT application remains that of defence and related concerns today, and MT research is conducted or supported by a number of military establishments, so this aspect of MT has persisted. However, more important from a scientific point of view is the original association of MT with cryptography, which was very largely reponsible for the adoption of over-simplistic techniques that ultimately proved flawed and led, eventually, to the ALPAC condemnation.