[lg policy] Google Translate’s Update Forecasts Language Learning Machines

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Sat Feb 28 14:44:45 UTC 2015


Google Translate’s Update Forecasts Language Learning Machines
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[image: GettyImages_460209995]
<http://languagemagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/GettyImages_460209995-e1424903161710.jpg>Google
Translate, an app that is estimated to perform about one billion
translations a day, has officially added two new translation technologies.
The Word Lens software, which Google acquired from Quest Visual in May of
2014 has been integrated with Google Translate to perform instantaneous
visual translations, and the previously existing real-time conversation
mode has been updated to provide faster and more fluid interlingual
interactions, all without being connected to an Internet or data source.
The Word Lens feature is currently available from English to and from
Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, German, and Russian, with additional
languages to be added on a rolling basis.

Google has dubbed this translation advancement, “one step closer to turning
your phone into a universal translator and to a world where language is no
longer a barrier to discovering information or connecting with each other.”
The technology works similar to Google’s search engine, searching the web
for translated documents and running a statistical analysis of likely
translations. Google Translate “learns” words by identifying their many
correct translations in other documents.

Computer “deep learning” such as this, and the technological replication of
a human neural network are hot topics in the software development sphere.
Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering at Google since 2012 and developer of
speech recognition technology, has held firm his predictions that computers
will be able to read at human levels and develop human characteristics by
2029 through deep learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technology.
However, Kurzweil urges the world to put aside fears of AI, saying, “We
have the opportunity in the decades ahead to make major strides in
addressing the grand challenges of humanity. AI will be the pivotal
technology in achieving this process.”

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