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Neural Machine Tools – The Future of E-learning Translations

In recent years, the number of non-Anglophone users of the Internet has increased considerably. A report published by Internet World Stats revealed that English speakers constitute only 26.3% of the global Internet-using population. As the use of the internet by non-English speakers grows, the demand for effective translation of online content is burgeoning, and e-learning resources are no exception.

Many companies are looking to technology for meeting their ever-growing web-based learning translation requirements in a cost-effective manner, Groundbreaking advances in the field of computing have resulted in revolutionary paradigm called neural machine translation.

What Is Neural Machine Translation?

Neural machine translation is the brand new development, first explored by the academic world in November 2014. Applications based on this technology use a phenomenon called deep learning. The applications find linguistic patterns in the source language text, and then generalize and associate these patterns and create translation “pathways” to render the content in the target language. Jay Marciano, Director of Machine Learning at Lionbridge, compares deep learning with playing a piano. When a pianist gets a note wrong, he backs up, tries again and repeats until he gets it right. In the same way, neural machine translation tools find their way through the pathways till they get the suitable equivalent in the target language. These tools consume enormous amounts of computing power and run only on extremely powerful processors called Graphical Processing Units (GPUs).

How Does It Improve E-learning Translation Efficiencies?

Tools based on neural translation technology are inarguably the most efficient machine translation applications. They are more accurate in terms of semantics, syntax and morphology than other types of translation technologies such as rule-based machine translation (RBMT) and phrase-based machine translation (PBMT). However, you should remember that they are not a substitute for skilled human translators.

What Are the Various Neural Machine Translation Tools Available on the Internet?

Currently, there are three applications you can try online. They are:

  1. Google Translate
  2. Microsoft Translator
  3. Systran Pure Neural Machine Translation

A number of companies such as Baidu, Amazon, and Facebook have evinced keen interest in neural machine translation, and therefore, there is a good chance of this list getting expanded.

Neural machine translation is in its infancy, and it will be sometime before it matures. But, one thing is for sure – it is a transformative technology and applications based on this technology are the future of e-learning translations. What do you think?

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