Human-optimized SMT Technology Increases Productivity, Cuts Costs and Preserves Quality

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Next generation of machine translation with continuous human feedback loop debuts at LegalTech.

McElroy Translation, a full-service language services provider based in Austin, and its partner, automated translation technology expert Asia Online, are ushering in a new generation of human-optimized statistical machine translation technology which they are debuting at LegalTech this week in New York (LegalTech New York 2009, February 2 - 4, Booth 3301).

Just six months into their strategic partnership, the companies have combined Asia Online's statistical machine translation platform and continuous improvement environment with McElroy Translation's deep linguistic expertise in technical and patent translations to drastically cut the cost and time required for patent and discovery searches while providing increased quality of translation.

Experts comment that the McElroy-Asia Online collaboration has created an entirely new age in statistical machine translation.

"In patent retrieval, the statistical machine translation that is continuously improved through trained linguistic experts, allows us to search and retrieve the right, relevant information and then use human experts only for those documents that are relevant," said Francisco Webber, CEO of patent-retrieval leader, Matrixware Information Services GmbH. "This collaboration sets a new standard in the patent translation industry and helps us optimize the patent retrieval process." MatrixWare is working with McElroy and Asia Online to create an environment for patent searches using this novel approach.

In a similar vein, industry research firm Common Sense Advisory stated in its predictions for 2009 that, "machine translation will open new markets in legal, patent, scientific and other free-form intellectual property discovery."

The Asia Online statistical machine translation platform is also an environment for collaborative and continuous improvement of automated translation output. Human subject-matter experts review the early translations and make any necessary corrections to perfect the text. This man-machine collaboration produces much higher translation quality than is possible by just using MT alone. The Asia Online system analyzes the human corrections in real time, allowing the system to learn dynamically so that all subsequent translations are improved.

As Asia Online CEO Dion Wiggins explains, "The system does not make the same mistake twice." McElroy provides the subject-matter experts and linguists needed to rapidly raise the output quality of the SMT engine prior to deployment, and to ensure the continued and ongoing improvements in the system's scope of vocabulary and quality of translation.

Litigation projects, which often are in the technical or intellectual property fields and frequently involve English and Asian languages, have been prohibitive to date because of the cost and time required. However, by matching statistical machine translation and interactive continuous improvement to an expert linguist who has subject matter expertise, the jobs can be accomplished quickly at a high level of quality. In addition to reducing the overall cost of translation, this approach leaves the legal judgment in the hands of the legal experts, rather than having to rely on untrained linguists to "score" foreign language documents for relevancy.

"The goal is to use technology to eliminate the middle-man in the search and evaluation process, saving the human translation budget for documents known to be relevant to the case at hand," said Bob Donaldson, Vice President of Strategy at McElroy Translation. "Our competence with this new human optimized SMT approach, also enables us to undertake other 'huge' translation projects like technical support knowledge bases and complex product development content to produce high quality translations at a fraction of the cost in a fraction of the time."

About McElroy Translation (
McElroy Translation places 40 years of experience, extensive linguistic resources, and advanced business processes to work for every client. From its home-base in Austin, Texas, McElroy offers translation and localization services in more than 100 languages to clients worldwide. The company specializes in the legal, pharmaceutical/medical, energy and software industries. McElroy prides itself in quality assurance and professional project management support.

About Asia Online Pte Ltd (
Asia Online's unique services enable people to transcend language as a barrier to knowledge by providing unrivalled access to the limitless store of English-language content on the Internet, in their language of choice.

Asia Online's primary focus is to deliver huge amounts of content in local languages. In doing so it has created a core technological infrastructure that enables massive translation projects to be undertaken. Asia Online is working with language service providers and publishers with its unique infrastructure that facilitates the ongoing evolution of real time corrective improvements that aims to deliver machine translation quality that is second to none.

Formed in 2007, Asia Online is a privately owned company backed by a number of individual investors and institutional venture capital. It is headquartered in Singapore, with operational headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand, where it conducts R&D and daily business operations. Asia Online currently employs more than 180 staff and is in the process of being incorporated in an additional 10 Asian countries.


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