MT Marathon 2013 – Our Contribution

One month on and Capita Translation and Interpreting have finally recuperated from this year’s MT Marathon conference. Hordes of translators, students and companies flocked to the eighth annual conference, which took place in Prague on 9th – 14th September. The conference was universally hailed as a standout success and we have now managed to combine all our learning’s from the event to help fuel further machine translation (MT) product development. The MT Marathon is a week long gathering of MT researchers, developers, students and users and comprises an impressive series of technical talks, hacking projects and MT testing labs.

Working with the MosesCore Project EU

The event was organised and sponsored by the MosesCore Project, an EU sponsored initiative to promote Moses, and which we are a partner of. In fact we have used Moses as our machine translation engine since 2008, so we are well versed in the benefits it can bring to the translation process. Our goal for this year’s conference was to support the MosesCore Project and help advocate the usage of open source machine translation tools – an approach which was warmly accepted by the wider translation community.

During the six days we helped showcase various examples of the Moses machine translation technology in action. Visitors at the conference were heavily involved in live demos and it’s fair to say the more experienced participants were emphatically impressed at how far machine translation toolkits have come over the last decade. Capita ambassadors Jie Jang and Ian Johnson were on hand to guide visitors through this exciting technology but our principal aim was to help educate businesses on the benefits it can bring to a corporate environment. Commercial interest in MT has escalated this year and we’re finding that businesses are looking for clear information to help them better understand the uses of this technology rather than pressured sales pitches. Various topics were debated during the six days, people who made the trip to Prague received insight from Capita on the benefits of open source programming, embedding MT into your existing technology ecosystem and how MT can contribute to your existing translation projects.

Figure 1.0 – A Live demo of the Moses system being installed and ran on a window system

An Engine Room for Industry Changing Ideas

Besides guiding people through our technology, Capita also presented 2 posters at the conference to unveil several innovations we are hoping to introduce to our services offering very soon. Our very own, Ian Johnson, presented several concepts to a diverse and attentive audience which look to push the boundaries of commercial MT even further:

A Standard API For Machine Translation Systems

This initiative would result in a consistent architecture framework across a wide range of global MT systems. By promoting the use of Open Machine Translation (OMTC) we can help standardise various components such as MT engines and users to create a system which is much more accessible to programmers all over the World. In essence programmers wouldn’t have to start from scratch; they could simply modify and integrate the Open Source API into their own front-end systems or applications. Simplifying and speeding up MT integration and adoption, whilst reducing the costs for organisations working with MT.

A New Computer Language Designed For Software Pipelines

Software pipelines are a common ‘construct’ when it comes to machine translation and they can often cause problems with the mechanics of MT. We believe a new language could deter from the traditional approach and focus more exclusively on compatibility checking components, representation design and also introducing code modules so specific components are shareable.

Overall the MT Marathon 2013 was a well-structured event, which opened dialogue and communication for numerous parties in the Machine Translation World. Capita were proud to fly the flag for open source programming in the MT arena and were delighted with the responses to some of our new initiatives for next year. A big thanks to Jie and Ian for their efforts over the week!!



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