State of the Union: The Next Generation of NLP

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In 1968, during the height of the Cold War, our nation’s intelligence organizations and military were working to decipher and understand Russian communication threads coming through their offices. Answering the call, SYSTRAN was born. We provided the vital translation software that our nation’s security forces required in order to do their job effectively.

Back then, we were providing our services through the IBM mainframe. Thankfully technology got smaller and more advanced, allowing SYSTRAN to move into several different areas. With the advent of the PC, we developed a product that people can use on the desktop, translating text into 130+ language combinations, enabling real-time multilingual communication across the globe.

Then recently, just in the last decade, we experienced further advancements through the smartphone. Speech recognition software along with the smartphone provided a plethora of breakthroughs. For example, SYSTRAN developed S-Translator, the official translation solution on the Samsung Galaxy S and Note series. Now if you’re in a taxi in Korea you can use your phone to tell someone where to go without speaking a word of the native language.

The Next Evolution: logo-systran.io-web-black-290

Now we are embarking on our next chapter as a company with the release of SYSTRAN.io, a platform of all the capabilities of SYSTRAN’s software, broken down into a development kit. This allows start-ups to large corporations to utilize for their own businesses the same language technology that our enterprise customers have had for decades.

The biggest challenge I’ve seen in my 20 years in the language industry is supporting multilingual communication. If you hire someone to do translations for you, it’s a skill and an art and as such deserves to be well compensated. It’s expensive.

Today, however, with SYSTRAN.io there is another solution. Small and medium-sized businesses just starting up can go global straight away. Companies of any size now have the ability to tap into our powerful tools from language identification to name recognition of places, people, timelines, and more to enable automatic, real-time translations within their applications.

Imagine this: I’m a small company selling my homemade jewelry on an e-commerce platform. I only speak English and Spanish, but someone has made an inquiry in Japanese. But I don’t have to worry. The platform I’m using to sell my goods has tapped into SYSTRAN.io to develop a simple translation application so that I can type in my own language and have it automatically sent to my customers in their language. I can now provide the same level of service to my international customers as I do to my local community.

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Ways to Use SYSTRAN.io

This is just one example. We have seen SYSTRAN.io in action in several ways already:

Real-time Multilingual Conversations- We recently experienced how SYSTRAN.io can enable real-time multilingual conversations in chat, messaging and forum environments. With an integration into Slack, a leading communication platform for globally distributed teams, colleagues in different countries who speak different languages can have a conversation in real-time. Both the sender and recipient can type and receive messages in their native language. Key decision makers will never be left out of a conversation now simply because they don’t understand the language.

Enabling User OEM Capability- Hardware manufacturers can now utilize SYSTRAN.io to create OEM software to give users a built-in translation solution. Like the Samsung S-Translator I mentioned earlier, Apple has also created a translation service for its desktop computers. That tool processes hundreds of millions of translations each month.

Understanding Social Media Sentiment- Today many big companies only understand what is being said about their brand on social media in a specific language. There are often several teams looking after individual languages. Conversations in France are just as important as those in Spain. What companies struggle with most is looking at user generated content horizontally to find trends in what people all over the world are saying. SYSTRAN.io enables people to look at conversations across the web in multiple languages and pull all threads together. More importantly, with natural language processing we can now understand the sentiment behind these comments to truly understand what the collective brand audience is saying.

The full implications and uses of a tool such as SYSTRAN.io are still being explored and discovered, but these are just a few ways we expect it to be used to communicate with and analyze a multilingual community.

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The Next Language Frontier

SYSTRAN.io is just the first step in making technology that was previously only available at a certain price point available to everyone – but there is definitely more to come.

The future is moving from the ability to simply write in a different language to speaking it as well. We’re already experiencing the first stages of this technology: my car reads my texts and I can send a text back through my car. How do we do that across multiple languages? How can we communicate vocally with a global audience?

We don’t have the answers just yet, but SYSTRAN.io is a promising step towards making natural language processing technology available to anyone. With this kind of technology available to all developers, customer experience companies, multi-national marketing departments, social media and marketing technology companies, we have only had a glimpse of what we can do. We expect to see new, intelligent uses of our technology that will no doubt continue to make our massive global community smaller and more accessible every day.

Click to download State of the Union – The Next Generation of NLP