Not Perfect But Good Enough: Experiences Using Machine Translation In A Multi-Lingual Institution

Huibre Lombard
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Machine translation is the process whereby a computer programme translates text from one natural language, the source language, into another, the target language. The number of paradigms for automatic translation has escalated during the past decade. Rule-based machine translation is characterised by linguistic rules used in translation, while statistic machine translation uses a highly developed theory of probabilities and supposition estimation. Corpus-based machine translation was an alternative way to address the knowledge acquisition problem of rule-based machine translation. Both memory-based and example-based machine translation systems use a database from which the translation system retrieves previously translated examples. This database can be compiled using different methods and various matches are retrieved during the translation process. Language management systems can be used to identify specialised terms for e.g. computers, law, the library and medicine. The EtsaTrans translation programme is a hybrid example-based machine translation system that uses a corpus and word list to translate a document from the source text into the target text. The EtsaTrans translation programme is being developed at the UFS. This paper discusses the experiences implementing machine translation as a means of making documents easily and speedily available in a mulit-language institution.

Keywords: Machine translation
Stream: Publishing
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English with dataprojector
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Huibre Lombard

Deputy Director, Library and Information Services, University of the Free State
Bloemfontein, Free State, South Africa

I started by career in the book selection division of the provincial library. I then moved to the cataloguing departement where I gained invaluable experience for about 10 years. After that I became an Information Officer in the Medical Library at the University and eventually the head of the Medical Library. After 5 years I was promoted to head of Information Services of the library, a position I still occupy. I am also the head of acquisitions, cataloguingand training. I was elected as the National Academic Librarian of the year 2003. I have completed my Master’s degree in Information Science as well as a Master’s degree in Translation Studies (both cum laude). My interest in the latter derived from the new democratic dispensation in South Africa which changed the institution from being an Afrikaans only university to include students and staff from multiple cultures and languages. My research was focussed on machine translation as a means of translating multiple documents easily and fast.

Ref: B07P0106