Interactive Real-Time Translation via the lnternet

Mark Seligman

The Internet offers a tremendous opportunity for experiments with real-time machine translation (MT) dialogues. Interchanges may be typed, or speech recognition (SR) techniques might be used to accept spoken input. In either case, given the number of ambiguities still escaping automatic resolution, interactive disambiguation for both components seems likely to remain important in many Internet applications for some time to come. In fact, simple concatenation of interactive SR and interactive MT may offer a "low road" to "quick and dirty" speech translation, as a pragmatic near-term alternative to tightly integrated systems aiming for more automatic operation. Disambiguation at the speech recognition stage is particularly important as a foundation for speech translation, in view of the need to "kill ambiguity before it multiplies". I briefly discuss interactive disambiguation for MT. Interactive disambiguation for speech recognition is the next topic: isolated-word speech recognition is seen as an especially interactive input mode with several advantages which are usually overlooked. Discussion then turns to ways of transmitting translated text via the Internet, with consideration of ftp and Internet Relay Chat. A pioneering demo of speech translation over the Interact organized by Kowalski, Rosenberg, and others is described, and possible alternative architectures are examined.

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