Language Technology

"Language technology" is the term which has come to be applied to software and hardware which is used to perform or facilitate operations with natural languages (as opposed to computer languages). Most people immediately recognize machine translation as being a type of language technology. However, few people who are knowledgeable about the field of translation in general and about machine translation in particular feel that it will ever play more than a marginal role in the translation of natural languages.

Most people are not aware of another area of language technology which is very exciting and which shows much more promise: machine-assisted translation (also referred to as machine-assisted human translation and computer-assisted translation). Such tools range from the simplest glossary management database tools all the way to translation memory tools.

Some common translation memory tools include:

	OmegaT (runs on Linux!)
	Wordfast (runs on Linux!)
	Heartsome (runs on Linux!)
	Open Language Tools (Sun)
	Atril's Deja Vu
	Trados Translator's Workbench
	BridgeTerm's ProMemoria
	SDL International's SDLX
	LTC Organiser
	Beetext Translation Suite
	IBM's TranslationManager II
	Langenscheidt's T1 Professional (search for "Volltextübersetzer")

Note that AppleGlot listed above is in binary form, and must be downloaded onto a Macintosh.

The increasing number of computer-assisted translation tools, each of which has its own strengths and weaknesses; the small numbers of people who use them; and the difficulty of learning how to use many of them effectively have prevented them from being used as widely as they otherwise might be. Moreover, problems in the source texts (the originals) that are to be translated – ranging from misspellings to sentence fragments all the way to poorly formatted documents that these tools cannot parse properly – raise doubt whether they will ever achieve their promise.

Click here for a list of books about these tools.

This list is continually (albeit slowly) being expanded and more information is appearing about machine translation, machine-assisted translation, etc., so keep checking back!

Click here for links to companies involved in language technology.

Another interesting site is the DFKI.

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