XTM Advent Calendar Day Three – Positive Intent

XTM Advent Calendar Day Three – Positive Intent

It may or may not surprise you to hear that the first patent applications for translating machines were made almost a century ago. A system for automatic bilingual dictionary creation on paper tape, devised by Peter Troyanski, a Russian academic, in the 1930s. Secrecy and mistrust between East and West meant that Troyanski didn’t get widespread credit for his work. By the time details emerged two decades later, he had passed away, and the IT revolution of the 20th century had moved on. On January 7th 1954 at the head office of IBM, the first public demonstration of a machine translation system was delivered. The system included 250 words and translated 49 Russian sentences into English. A baby step forward, but an important one. And now?

In 2020 the global machine translation market was valued at $550 million, with year on year growth of 17% is projected for the first half of this decade. And machine translation now embraces lesser-used, “low resource” languages in a way that human translation services cannot match.

In the twelve months from June 2020 to June 2021, two thousand new language pairs were added to machine translation systems, including many low-resource languages. At XTM LIVEStream last month, Konstantin Savenkov, CEO of Intento, was asked if he believes machine translation is now both the tool of the market leader and the champion of minority and endangered languages. His answer was not only affirmative, it was informed and enlightening. Intento is a champion of global communication, and the company’s annual report on the state of machine translation is recommended reading for anyone interested in automation with a purpose.

At XTM International, we’re proud to partner with language technology pioneers whose work dovetails neatly with our own. In 2022 machine translation will continue to be a microphone that enables users to speak to the world. We look forward to hearing every voice.