Meet Raj Nath Patel, Iconic’s newest Machine Translation Scientist

Meet Raj Nath Patel, Iconic’s newest Machine Translation Scientist

We were delighted to recently welcome Raj Nath Patel to the team as a Machine Translation Scientist. Raj joins Iconic from India and has expertise in Neural Machine Translation (NMT) and Statistical Machine Translation (SMT). We sat down with Raj to find out more about his background, what he thinks about recent developments in NMT, and what it’s like to be living in Ireland!


Hi Raj! Welcome to Iconic! Could you introduce yourself to our readers?

Hi, I’m Raj Nath Patel from India. My expertise is in neural and statistical machine translation, transliteration, language modelling, and translation quality evaluation and estimation. Prior to joining Iconic as a Machine Translation (MT) Scientist, I was working at The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) India, as a Natural Language Processing (NLP) researcher. At CDAC, I mainly worked on Indian language MT.

Can you describe your role here at Iconic? 

At Iconic, I am developing high-quality customised MT engines and integrating them into our range of solutions for legal, financial, and life sciences verticals. Every language pair requires specific handling for better quality MT output. My aim is to incorporate innovative language-specific processing techniques into our architecture to achieve state-of-the-art translation quality. Comparing SMT with NMT output is another very interesting line of work I will be doing at Iconic.

What interested you about working at Iconic?

Previous to joining Iconic I had been mainly developing MT systems in the lab on standard data sets. Although I enjoyed this, I was intrigued by the opportunity to move outside the lab to try and solve some real-world MT challenges. At Iconic we focus on real-world commercial MT issues and try to resolve these alongside a team of great MT experts. I also was very intrigued by the recent research that Iconic undertook in comparing its own production quality hybrid/SMT engines with NMT engines. It is great to see a company working alongside research centres in projects like this.

What interested you in Machine Translation?

MT attracted me because of its applications in the real world in everyday life. There is a vast amount of knowledge locked up in thousands of different languages around the world. With MT assisting translators in the translation process, we have seen an increase in not only translation productivity but also in information extraction and retrieval. This was evident in the recent work that Iconic carried out with CAS, a division of the American Chemical Society, to create ChemZent, a result that unlocked 3 million historical chemical abstracts. These abstracts are now available, and searchable, in English for the first time in history which has unlocked lots of valuable information. This shows the real potential for MT.

Neural MT is a hot topic right now. Do you think it can live up to the hype?

There is no doubt neural MT has significantly improved the translation quality for some languages. However, it is not a magic solution and as we are seeing it is not without its faults. Although NMT has the capability to greatly improve the fluency of MT output, particularly for complex language pairs, NMT engines can produce peculiar errors which can be difficult to predict and resolve. There is no doubt the future is bright for NMT but there is still a lot of work to do.

You have just moved to Ireland from India, how are you finding living in Ireland?

Dublin is a really nice city to live and work, and the Irish people have been so friendly and kind in my short time here.  I also really enjoy the beautiful Irish scenery and hope to travel throughout Ireland in the coming months. So far I have visited Bray, Co Wicklow and next on my list is the fishing village of Howth here in Dublin!


About Iconic Translation Machines

Iconic Translation Machines is a leading machine translation software and solutions provider who specialises in custom solutions tailored with subject matter expertise for specific industry sectors including legal, life sciences and financial services. Iconic is the MT partner of choice for some of the world’s largest translation companies, information providers, and government and enterprise organisations, helping them to translate more content, more accurately and in less time, resulting in significant cost savings and increased revenue.

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