Neural MT: what it is and how it works

traduzione automatica neurale

Neural MT: what it is and how it works

The translation and language services industry is constantly evolving. Neural machine translation (MT) was created by applying artificial intelligence to the field of translation and is considered one of the most advanced type of technology in the industry.


1) How does neural machine translation work?
2) The benefits of neural machine translation
3) What are the differences between machine translation and neural machine translation?
4) The limits of neural machine translation

Neural machine translation is based on a set of artificial neural networks that act on a level of language and learning in a way very similar to the human mind. NMT is thus capable of returning reliable translations and processing a large amount of information in a short time.


How does neural machine translation work?


The activity of artificial neurons is combined with the work of advanced technological tools and allows the algorithms involved to comprehend not only a text but also its context.

To improve the performance of this sophisticated system, however, human intervention is necessary. The machine can actually be “trained” by a human by feeding it a great amount of data, which, if correctly processed, let the NMT systems produce increasingly reliable and accurate translation results.

The end translation product is then checked and corrected by a professional human translator who is responsible for improving the style of the text and making its content understandable and fluid. This stage, known as machine translation post-editing, makes it possible to obtain a final good-quality version of the text by starting with the result of a machine-based translation.


What are the differences between machine translation and neural machine translation?


The first machine translation systems appeared around the 1950s. Technological innovation and research in the field in time have allowed us to develop translation systems that are increasingly sophisticated and continuously changing.

The first machine translation systems were based on the separate translations of small pieces of text and referred to large terminology databases. This approach was able to return a correct solution, although not very accurate and consistent with respect to the original text.

Neural MT is based instead on a more inventive approach. By relying on artificial neural networks, this system can translate entire sentences while also taking account of context. This method provides a consistent result and is especially recommended for translations of specific text types and content related to particular industries.


The benefits of neural machine translation


This particular type of machine translation makes it possible to translate a large amount of information from texts in various languages and in short time. In fact, NMT is recommended to manage urgent translations and the creation of multilingual content.

Another significant benefit is the possibility to analyse a text as a whole rather than its small component parts, so we gain a coherent and high-quality translation. In addition, while the artificial intelligence system is operating, it constantly updates and improves the NMT algorithms.


The limits of neural machine translation


However innovative neural MT may be, it is in a state of constant change. This is why it can present limitations and drawbacks that most likely will be improved with time.

For example, neural machine translation encounters some difficulty in translating very technical terms and texts that are not quite straightforward. The clarity of a text is naturally key to being able to obtain a clear and correctly translated solution.

Moreover, this type of machine translation is not often recommended for creative translations. Translation systems operate on linear models, so they are not capable of automatically returning an overly personalised final product.

Finally, to achieve an impeccable result of high quality, the involvement of human translators is both fundamental and necessary so they can complete the post-editing process in the best possible way.

Language technology and artificial intelligence systems are in a state of constant evolution, however it seems they’ve not yet reached the potential of the human mind. As a result, machine translation and human translation will have to continue to cooperate in order to successfully render an optimal and reliable result.

Are you interested in learning more about Neural Machine Translation services offered by Creative Words and finding which technological solution would better meet your needs? Don’t hesitate to contact us to find out how we can help you.

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