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Language Technology Industry Summit 2018 in Review

Language Technology Industry Summit 2018 in Review

 

The Language Technology Industry Summit took place May 28 - 29  in Brussels

The Language Technology Industry Summit took place May 28 – 29 in Brussels

The Language Technology (LT) Industry Summit is one of Europe’s major high-level events showcasing the latest developments in language technology. Stakeholders such as LT developers, providers & users, business leaders, investors and analysts, travel from all across Europe to participate. The 7th LT Industry Summit took place May 28 – 29th at the International Auditorium in Brussels, and Iconic CEO, John Tinsley, was there to partake as a lead panelist. The theme of the first day of the Summit was Deep Language & Meaning Processing and Speech & Multimodal Interaction which covered a range of topics from data, to Automated Speech Recognition (ASR), to video interpreting. The second day’s theme was Multilingual Communication & Cognition, namely a deeper look at Machine Translation (MT). It was on the second day when John led a panel entitled “Human-Parity Neural Machine Translation – Hype or at the Doorstep? ” which addressed the provocative marketing coverage by Microsoft around their recent machine translation developments.

Iconic CEO, John Tinsley, speaking on the Human Machine Parity Panel at the Language Technology Industry Summit in Brussels, along with fellow panelists Arthur Wetzel of 24translate Group, (not pictured) Britta Aagaard of Semantix Sverige, and David Canek of Memsource

Iconic CEO, John Tinsley, speaking on the Human Machine Parity Panel at the Language Technology Industry Summit in Brussels, along with fellow panelists Arthur Wetzel of 24translate Group, (not pictured) Britta Aagaard of Semantix Sverige, and David Canek of Memsource

Before moderating the session, John gave a presentation on the state of Neural Machine Translation, addressing the latest developments and claims.  John’s introduction covered the science versus the marketing of neural machine translation (NMT), specifically speaking of the recent claims by Microsoft (see picture below), but also including Google’s announcement and how this was subsequently relayed in the media.  He then went on to discuss the pros and cons of marketing NMT in such a “hype” fashion. Such bold statements as  “achieving human parity”  creates expectations which are possibly not in line with reality.  Although, having said that, if the results are, in actuality, what they say they are, then all the better.  These claims are certainly building awareness and bringing potential buyers into the conversation!

a slide from John's presentation  which includes the statement from Microsoft which inspired the panel topic

a slide from John’s presentation which includes the statement from Microsoft which inspired the panel topic

Following John’s presentation, he was joined by esteemed panelists, Britta Aagaard, Head of Translation at Semantix, and Arthur Wetzel, CSO of 24translate, both representing Language Service Providers (LSPs), as well as David Canek, CEO of Memsource, representing MT providers. Given the changing landscape of MT now that NMT is being adopted universally, the panel discussed the many changes which are necessary in order to adapt to NMT. Britta and the panel discussed the need to “retrain translators” on handling new MT, while David spoke of the specific need within Memsource to update their software to cater for new types of technology.  Arthur shared a Case Study of 24translate, of their early foray into MT with a client. Not surprising, there were quite a few questions from the floor on the nature of the role of translators as we move forward and as MT improves. The discussion also included talk about the creation of new jobs and responsibilities such as reviewers and QA.  Another topic discussed was the follow-on affect when the MT is of such high quality, of using only monolingual revision (a linguist – a native speaker of the target language specialised in the text’s area of expertise – proofreads and edits the translation without comparing it to the source) and how that will impact the workflow. The participants and panelists provided engaging discussion, speculation and brainstorming, which “translates” to a beneficial learning experience for all!

Many thanks to LT-Innovate for hosting such a worthwhile event, and a special thanks to John’s co-panelists, and those who participated in the “Human-Parity NMT – Hype or at the Doorstep?” session.

If you’d like to see John’s presentation slides, you can click here or if you would like to learn more about Iconic’s NMT solutions, click here.

About LT-Innovate

LT-Innovate is the Language Technology Industry Association.  Language Technologies are pervasive and, by nature, key enabling technologies in a multilingual world. LT-Innovate’s  four main objectives include strengthening the Language Technology Industry for increased competitiveness in the global markets; promoting Language Technologies as driver of economic success, societal well-being and cultural integrity; encouraging collaboration within the Industry and with other stakeholders of the Language Technology value-chains; and articulating the Industry’s collective interests vis-à-vis its clients, researcher partners, investors and policy makers. Membership in LT-Innovate is open to any organisation or individual with an interest in language technology.

About Iconic Translation Machines

Iconic Translation Machines is a leading machine translation software and solutions provider who specialise in custom solutions tailored with subject matter expertise for specific industry sectors including eDiscovery, 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. Iconic is based in Dublin, Ireland. www.iconictranslation.com

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