How Neural Machine Translation (NMT) is Creating a Global Post-Language Economy

This article was originally published in The Next Web. How Neural Machine Translation (NMT) is Creating a Global Post-Language Economy.

Businesses are same all over the world. People work hard to make their products sell, their companies grow and broaden their futures. But while business may be universally understood, the languages we conduct it in are not. One of the exciting recent developments in technology by Google has the potential to change the face of business as we know it. It is known as Neural Machine Translation (NMT), and it promises to break down language barriers to a degree we have never seen before.

“The Internet created a global economy, but there are still numerous friction points, chief among them a substantial language barrier,” says Denis Gachot, CEO of SYSTRAN Software Inc., a language technology company. “NMT is a scalable solution to the language barrier problem that can achieve numerous outcomes – allow businesses to rapidly transmit large volumes of documents in different languages, connect small businesses to the global economy that could not operate without professional translation, and even empower consumers to find products and services they couldn’t have before.”

How is it different from Rule-based and Phrase-based translation models?

Neural Machine Translation is the shift from rule-based and phrase-based translation models, which translates word-by-word or in groups of words between languages. Instead, NMT translates entire sentences at a time, looking to discern cultural, colloquial, and technical contexts to create more accurate translations. The technology mirrors human intuition in its ability to pick up on subtleties, but because it is a machine, it can process these faster than we can.

Let’s take an example of an official note that says: パリに出張の時に私はCEOに会いました.

With a phrase-based machine translation (PBMT), you would receive the translated output as: ‘I met Paris in the CEO trip doing business.’ With Neural Machine Translation (NMT), you will get: ‘I met the CEO when I was in Paris on a business trip.’

In Japanese, main verbs are always used at the end, so to make sense of the used phrases within it, you need to reference the end of a sentence.

NMT is also an end-to-end learning system, which means that it gets better the longer it is in use. This deep learning function powers its neural network, which computes translations with such a degree of complexity that often times even its developers are unsure how it arrived at its conclusion. It is, in a sense, very much like the human mind.

The beauty in all this is the ease to conduct international business now. Caring for clients, clarifying concerns with business partners, or trying to reach new markets is possible with the click of a button. All those written communications that would once have required a linguist can be translated with a comparable degree of accuracy using NMT, making business as usual, unusually uncomplicated.

So how should we anticipate seeing the effects of NMT?

Firstly, NMT allows small businesses to bring their product to the global market, and with them, their increasingly high standards for innovative, quality products. If a businesswoman in Poland wants to sell to clients in Japan, she can do so without having to spend weeks laboring over miscommunications and misunderstandings in emails written and read in second languages. This will increase the diversity of products and services available, while also speeding the pace of innovation.

Large corporations are already benefiting from this technology. Google’s launch of NMT technology operates in eight of the world’s major languages, covering 30 percent of the world’s population. SYSTRAN’s PNMT facilitates communications in 70 different language pairs.

An influx of both quality and quantity in products and producers will inevitably boost the current of globalization and its roaring marketplace. Language, which was originally a tool for organizing mankind, has in recent times become a barrier. This new wave of advancements in NMT may be just the crossing over point the global market has been looking for but it is more than ready to bridge that language barrier very soon.

SYSTRAN’s team is setting private meetings for an exclusive view of the PNMT concept. For more information, contact Craig Stern at craig.stern@systrangroup.com and to set up a meeting, click here.

Related Links

SYSTRAN PNMT DEMO

Positive Feedback from PNMT Beta Tester

This article was originally published in The Next Web. How Neural Machine Translation (NMT) is Creating a Global Post-Language Economy.

How Neural Machine Translation Will Help Online Marketplaces Turn their Individual Sellers into Global Players

This article was originally published in inside BIGDATA by Ken Behan. How Neural Machine Translation Will Help Online Marketplaces Turn their Individual Sellers into Global Players.

In this special guest feature, Ken Behan, Chief Growth Officer at SYSTRAN, discusses new technology that is aiming to totally eradicate the problem of language as one of the primary factors limiting small businesses from operating abroad. Powered by big data, AI and deep learning, Neural Machine Translation (NMT) advances from previous models that translated words one at a time, to the more human-like method of reading sentences for context and meaning. Ken is responsible for defining and implementing the growth strategy for SYSTRAN who have a global presence in the US, Europe and Asia. With 20 years’ experience in the language intelligence industry, he is considered a thought leader in language translation having held several Senior Executive roles within the industry. A native of Ireland he is also a serial entrepreneur as well as business mentor to several Irish Start-ups.

“귀걸이가 맘에들어요. 친구들에게 추천하겠습니다.” As an online seller, is this good news or bad? In a survey commissioned by Education First, 49% of executives admitted that language barriers and communication difficulties had prevented significant international business deals from being done. In the same way that language barriers hamper big business, they hamper small business.

 

There are three ways to increase revenue: acquire more customers, increase the average spend per customer, and increase the number of transactions per customer.

Here’s the question for eCommerce platforms with millions of creative, ambitious, well-intended people looking to increase their income: can your seller in France close a deal in Japan? Can your seller in China provide customer support to his buyers in Spain? Can your users see reviews in their native language, no matter what the source language was?

Historically, these capabilities have been reserved for the captains of industry. eBay has been using their proprietary Machine Translation for years. But machine learning is making it available to everyone.

Technology firms have been working on the language problem for decades, but the last several years have seen significant advances that merit the attention of business leaders who are eyeing international markets. The technology is called Neural Machine Translation (NMT), a deep learning system that captures meaning in the context of translated sentences, not the single word. The net result is fluency, where previously, only a “gist” was possible. By combining NMT with existing big data tools that scrape, structure and analyze, new value propositions have suddenly become more attainable.

For example, let’s take a case from a peer-to-peer e-commerce site where a Korean customer inquires of an American Vendor, “미국에서 귀걸이를 한국으로 배송하면 얼마나 걸릴까요?”

When translated with NMT  the result is “How long will it take to get earrings from America to Korea?”  where as a statistical engine will return “In the United States, how long will it take to deliver the Korean earrings,” making commerce far more difficult to transact and probably several emails to clarify.

Similarly, reviews on web sites are extremely important with 88% of people saying that they now incorporate reviews as part of their buying process. In an “English only” world this tends not to be a challenge but, as HBR reported, 72.4% of people said  they would be more likely to buy a product with information in their own language. NMT makes this possible today and with annual E-commerce revenue growth in double digits, e-tailers have a tremendous opportunity to accelerate revenue growth with minimal investment.

Customer self-service has also exploded over the last few years with many companies relying on “super users” to solve their clients’ problems. Again those outside the top 4 global languages find themselves in the dark most of the time. By implementing NMT solutions, companies are not only benefiting from happier customers in languages they struggled with, but also fend off local “copycat” technologies.

Of the three revenue growth options mentioned at the top of this piece, increasing spend per transaction and increasing number of transactions per customer are the easiest of the three. At the opposite end, losing a customer is a heavier cost then all. We live in a world where if two tech companies are created equal – the user will buy from the one with the better experience or the more relatable values. Offering cross-language chat, multilanguage reviews and knowledge based would put you in the upper echelon of competitors.

By the way, this ‘reads’ this. It was good news. This text means this: “I like the earrings. I’ll recommend them to friends.”

SYSTRAN’s team is setting private meetings for an exclusive view of the PNMT concept. For more information, contact Craig Stern at craig.stern@systrangroup.com and to set up a meeting, click here.

Related Links

SYSTRAN PNMT DEMO

Positive Feedback from PNMT Beta Tester

This article written by Ken Behan was originally published in inside BIGDATA. How Neural Machine Translation Will Help Online Marketplaces Turn their Individual Sellers into Global Players.

This Translation Tool Is Helping Global Brands Break Language Barriers

This article was originally published on Forbes This Translation Tool Is Helping Global Brands Break Language Barriers

 

Since launching in 2006, Google Translate has grown to over 500 million users worldwide, translating more than 100 billion words daily. In 2016, the tool supported 103 languages, with 92% of its users residing outside of the United States.

While the tech giant sits comfortably atop the growing list of translator apps, there’s one longstanding giant in the shadows, actively innovating and developing the blueprint for how companies like Google define the future of global communications.

Founded in 1968, SYSTRAN stands as the leading provider of language translation software products, delivering real-time language solutions compatible for desktop, mobile, and web-based platforms. Credited as a pioneer in machine translation for over four decades, SYSTRAN remains committed to advancing multilingual communications around the world, removing language barriers between people and businesses to make forging meaningful connections seamless.

SYSTRAN’s software facilitates communication in 140 language pairs, across 20 vertical domains, making them the most sought-after translation software provider amongst top-tier global companies and public agencies. Their translation software improves relevant searches, content management, customer support, B2B communications, and plays a pivotal role in scaling global e-commerce companies.

The tech company has developed a proprietary software product called Pure Neural Machine Translation (PNMT), which is an independently developed variation of a technology called Neural Machine Translation. Instead of translating one word at a time, the technology reads full sentences to determine the meaning and assure each translation is properly contextualized. Pure Neural Machine Translation has proven to be more effective than translation software and services used on Facebook or Google Translate.

Equipped with a trained and experienced team of engineers and linguists, SYSTRAN not only expects to compete, but looks to ultimately surpass power players like Google in the race to design a truly connected world without language divides.

I spoke with SYSTRAN CEO Denis Gachot about the vision behind his company, eliminating language barriers, and his plans for transforming how people and businesses communicate.

What was the specific void or opportunity that inspired the idea behind SYSTRAN’s PNMT?

Denis Gachot: In 1968, the United States Air Force called us to translate Russian to English during the Cold War. The stakes had never been higher; precision, security and speed were required to translate a high volume of data quickly. The only difference today is that we’re not just helping the intelligence community. Large corporations are in a battle, and have global teams that need to get languages right and uphold tight security.Thus, the void we needed to solve for was quality. Pure Neural Machine Translation (PNMT) has brought us translation quality that raised the standard, and is now measured by how well it sounds like a native speaker; a remarkable attribute for a machine to be judged on. PNMT is furthering the opportunity to allow people from anywhere in the world to be able to connect with anyone and understand anything.

What were some of the notable challenges you faced while developing your business?

Denis Gachot: One challenge is that most people are unaware of how they can apply machine translation to their business. Imagine an auto manufacturer who would like translate 200,000 pages of product manuals for communication amongst teams in Germany, Columbia and Japan, using email and instant messaging. They would have two translation engines: One that is optimized for the manuals, and another that is optimized for colloquialism (casual speak and slang). Custom translation engines are created with domain specific dictionaries, customized vocabulary, and preferences. For example, if you have a manufacturing profile, the word ‘PIN’ is defined as a metal object. However, if you have a banking profile, the word ‘PIN’ is defined as a password. Further, you can customize vocabulary based on your company’s nomenclature. You can save settings such as ‘never translate your brand’s name’. Also, anything that’s been edited can be saved in the profile to optimize future translations.

Can you provide an example of a company that uses this form of machine translation and how it has benefited them?

Denis Gachot: Adobe, a company with over 100 products, is an example of how to leverage machine translation. They have detailed support FAQs and product education documents in dozens of languages. If they didn’t, phone lines would start to light up with customer service requests in Russian, Hebrew, Japanese, Chinese, and Spanish, because users can’t find support in their language. The applications are nearly limitless: translating patents from Chinese to English, helping law firms find evidence in hundreds of thousands of files in different languages, and translating scientific research, just to name a few.

Your company was founded in the 1960’s — How has both the language translation technology and the market for this technology evolved over the past several decades?

Denis Gachot: Language technology has advanced in line with technology and culture in general. In 1960, the average person spoke to five people a day. Today, you have over 2,000 friends and colleagues anywhere on Earth that can instantly message each other. We’re seeing our customers apply neural machine translation and big data to evolve everything: sales, e-learning, publishing, customer service, email, eDiscovery, compliance, big data manipulation, and mobile apps. Needs have evolved to fluency. With fluency, we now judge the translations based on how well the message captured the meaning, and how much it sounded like a native speaker; that’s phenomenal.

What goes into the process of developing translation technology and what other aspects of human communication or behavior must be studied in the process?

Denis Gachot: Technically speaking, it’s artificial intelligence. Like the human brain, the neural machine translator learns through a process in which the machine receives a series of stimuli over several weeks. Over the course of those few weeks, the process mimics ‘deep learning.’ Think of ‘if, then’ statements — that’s considered ‘shallow learning.’ Deep learning is multiple ‘if, then’ statements stacked. Our technology runs complex algorithms that keep the engine learning, generalizing the rules of a language from a given translated text, and producing a translation that is eerily close to one done by an actual human. The linguistic expertise (the understanding of language), is a more unique set of knowledge than the software coding, and our machines have been undergoing that process of learning for over 49 years. We’ve amassed such a knowledge base that most users think the translation is done by a human. The reason it is so good is because of the underlying study of how a human being uses language.

How do you see a company like SYSTRAN shaping how people from all parts of the world build connections with each other?

Denis Gachot: If two people can’t speak the same language, there is no connection. Dale Carnegie once said, ‘to understand someone is to repeat back to them what they said better than they originally described it.’ When you confide in your best friend, you do it because you feel heard. It transforms businesses, personal relationships, and even random encounters with strangers. In the future, we’d love to release devices that you can talk into and they translate instantly. Imagine having something as small as a lapel pin that gave you the ability to understand what is being said and respond in any language, this is the future that SYSTRAN will be a part of, and hopefully, in the process help enrich all our lives. Communication fosters connection. Neural Machine Translation fosters connection through sophisticated algorithms that not only translate, but provide fluency so people are understood.

While America is multicultural, people live in somewhat of a westernized bubble — How does a company like SYSTRAN help connect these international communities and enrich culture in nations like the U.S.?

Denis Gachot: To understand and gain command of a new language is to know how a different set of humans and cultures view life. Take the expression of love, time, and death. In America, the word ‘love’ is used abundantly. I ‘love’ these shoes, this house, this drink and so forth. In most other cultures, that word is held for special times with loved ones. This is the foundation of connecting. At a practical level, the difference between the U.S. and the Continents is that our country’s language is the global language, so most Americans don’t know another language or haven’t gotten to know another culture. How many people do you know that have studied a foreign language in college but forgot it all because they didn’t’ use it. Now, imagine being able to send an email in French, an instant message in Korean, and co-create a PowerPoint Presentation in Spanish? Language is like mixing primary colors to make new colors. In Miami, for example, they speak Spanglish. There is a subset of rules about when to use English and Spanish in the same conversation. It’s beautiful.

How do you see SYSTRAN evolving over the next 3-5 years and where do you see your company fitting in the future of where this technology is heading?

Denis Gachot: Most, if not all industry leaders will continue to deploy artificial intelligence in some way. We are a part of that revolution. I am at liberty to tell you that we’re already embedded in many of the leading companies’ internal applications, hardware, and proprietary communication tools. The spoken word is the next frontier, as people move away from communicating with electronic devices in their hands — typing, swiping, tapping — and use their voices instead. Everyday functions like typing will be replaced by dictation, and even human-machine conversation. We already talk with smart home assistants that turn on other devices, answer our questions, and send us alerts. Language translation is a key component of the future of technology.

SYSTRAN’s team is setting private meetings for an exclusive view of the PNMT concept. For more information, contact Craig Stern at craig.stern@systrangroup.com and to set up a meeting, click here.

Related Links

SYSTRAN PNMT DEMO

Positive Feedback from PNMT Beta Tester

This article was originally published on Forbes This Translation Tool Is Helping Global Brands Break Language Barriers.

SYSTRAN’s Continuing Neural MT Evolution

by Kirti Vashee on eMpTy Pages, a blog about translation technology, localization and collaboration

Recently, I had the opportunity and kind invitation to attend the SYSTRAN community day event where many members of their product development, marketing, and management team gathered with major customers and partners.

The objective was to share information about the continuing evolution of their new Pure Neural MT (PNMT) technology,  share detailed PNMT output quality evaluation results, and provide initial customer user experience data with the new technology. Also, naturally such an event creates a more active and intense dialogue between company employees and customers and partners.  This, I think has substantial value for a company that seeks to align product offerings with its customer’s actual needs.

Ongoing Enhancements of the PNMT Product Offering

The event made it clear that SYSTRAN is well down the NMT path, possibly years ahead of other MT vendors, and provided a review of the current status of their rapidly evolving PNMT technology.

Read more

IRIS and SYSTRAN sign OEM agreement to integrate IRIS OCR

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SYSTRAN is pleased to announce together with IRIS, member of Canon Group, European leader in Mobile Scanning peripherals, Intelligent Document Recognition (IDR), Information Management and Optimized IT Infrastructure (ICT), an OEM agreement to enhance SYSTRAN products translation capabilities. Continue reading

SYSTRAN to Exhibit at APHS 2015 in Singapore

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The ASIA PACIFIC HOMELAND SECURITY will be held in the Marina Bay sands Expo and Convention Center in Singapore, on October 28th to 30th. A conference day is scheduled on October 27th.

For the first time, the entire homeland and civil security industry and market will meet during APHS with the support of the Singapore government and high authorities of the country. With the Continue reading

SYSTRAN to exhibit at GITEX 2015 in Dubai

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Employees are increasingly using Cloud services without even notifying the IT department. This behavior is not risk free and the use of translation services on the Web is among one of these risky practices. Confidential breaches, lack of compliance and cyber security vulnerabilities are the major threats. Continue reading