Machine Translation

Harold Somers

in The Oxford Handbook of Translation Studies

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199239306
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

 Machine Translation

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  • Linguistics
  • Computational Linguistics
  • Translation and Interpretation


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Machine translation (MT) is a term used to describe a range of computer-based activities involving translation. This article reviews sixty years of history of MT research and development, concentrating on the essential difficulties and limitations of the task, and how the various approaches have attempted to solve, or more usually work round, these. History of MT is said to date from a period just after the Second World War during which the earliest computers had been used for code-breaking. In the late 1980s the field underwent a major change in direction with the emergence of a radically new way of doing MT. Two main approaches to MT have emerged and these are rule-based and statistics-based. These approaches owe little to conventional linguistic methods and ideas, but it must be recognized that the much faster development cycle has made functional versions of MT systems covering new language pairs become available.

Keywords: machine translation; code-breaking; rule-based; statistics-based; linguistic methods and ideas; language pairs

Article.  5723 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Computational Linguistics ; Translation and Interpretation

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