Asia Online Unveils Revolutionary Statistical Machine Translation Platform with 203 Language Pairs - Learns From Humans

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Asia Online's new statistical machine translation platform handles large-scale, bulk globalization projects in more than 203 language pairs, and possesses the unique ability to learn from humans in real-time, giving it the ability to constantly improve its translation quality and understand industry-specific jargon and cultural nuances. The new platform will be available as an on-demand service, greatly reducing the risk and complexity of deployment for language service providers translating English, German, French, Chinese, Arabic, Hindi, Thai and more.

Thai - one of the most difficult natural language processing challenges

Asia Online's Statistical Machine Translation platform combines statistical machine translation with an environment for collaborative and continuous improvement. Put simply, this means that the machine constantly learns from humans and continuously improves.

Asia Online today announced its statistical machine translation (SMT) platform with support for 203 language pairs, making it the most extensive translation system of its type in the world. Being unveiled during Localization World in Berlin, the new platform has the unique ability to learn from humans in real time.

Mr. Dion Wiggins, Asia Online CEO, says the new platform represents three major improvements in machine translation. "Asia Online's Statistical Machine Translation platform solves some of the key challenges of making machine translation work within the context of real world, bulk translation projects."

"The first challenge is access to technology in a managed and economical way. Asia Online has solved this by making industrial-strength statistical machine translation available as an on demand service. The second challenge has been the limited set - and high cost - of available language pairs. We are launching with 203 language pairs and will be adding more over the next year. Finally, previous machine translation systems have suffered from quality issues and cumbersome approaches to training the systems, resulting in systems that improve very slowly, if at all. We have solved this by allowing our platform to learn from human proofreaders in real time."

The resulting platform is a combination of processes, technology and a new model for working with large scale content publishers and language service providers with customers who have large-scale, bulk translation requirements.

Industrial-strength Statistical Machine Translation Offered as an On-Demand Service.

Asia Online is the first company to offer industrial-strength statistical machine translation as an on- demand service.

Kirti Vashee, Vice President of Sales, Americas and Europe for Asia Online says, "One of the big limitations for the adoption of statistical machine translation has been the significant costs and risks associated with setting them up. We have overcome that hurdle by making the Asia Online SMT platform available on-demand."

Mr. Vashee explains that the approach is similar to Software-as-a-Service solutions, where all the technology is professionally run and managed behind the scenes. "Asia Online's Statistical Machine Translation platform lets language service providers focus on their core business, and dramatically improves their productivity by accessing what is arguably the most powerful automated translation technology available today. Furthermore, the tools and the processes needed to tailor the solution to specific linguistic requirements and specific customers are also available."

The Asia Online statistical machine translation platform is far more than just a translation engine. It is an entire suite of linguistic tools that provide very advanced features for managing and processing corpus. Tools include code page conversion, language model generation, translation job queue management and much more.

"Users will have full control of the environment to train and customize the Asia Online platform with their own data. They can even integrate the Asia Online translation platform into their own processes and information systems… all without having to worry about the underlying technology," said Mr. Vashee.

Key industry technical standards are also support such as TMX and XLIFF, allowing for seamless integration with existing translation products used by the language service industry. Asia Online is engaging a number integration partners to produce a set of adaptors that link directly into existing tools in an effort to allow partners to get a maximum return on their existing translation technology investments while using Asia Online's offerings.

203 Language Pairs and Counting

At launch Asia Online's statistical machine translation platform will support 203 language pairs, including a broad mix of European and Asian language pairs such as: German-French, German-Spanish , German Portuguese, English-Hindi, English-Spanish, English-Thai, English-Chinese etc.

The full set of languages include pairs from Arabic, Chinese, Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Swedish, Thai.

In addition, Asia Online plans to have 470 language pairs available by year end 2008, prioritized in the order of customer demand.

According to Philipp Koehn, Asia Online's Chief Scientist, the rapid expansion of the platform's capabilities is due to its unique design approach: "Asia Online's Statistical Machine Translation platform was developed to handle the toughest challenges, such as translating tens of millions of pages of European languages to Asian languages like Thai, which is arguably one of the hardest languages for natural language processing. Our platform excels with these sorts of challenges due to a range of proprietary processes and techniques that we have engineered deep into the platform."

"By starting with the most difficult language pairs, we have been able to create a statistical machine translation platform with proven capabilities. With this as our base and with our efficient language training processes, it has been relatively easy to extend the platform to handle many different languages pairs."

Currently, no other machine translation vendor offers a solution with the capacity for 200+ language pairs. In addition, Mr. Kirti Vashee, the company's Vice President of Sales, Americas and Europe, says that language service providers will not have to pay upfront fees for each language pair, but will be able to access the languages as they need.

A Translation Platform that Learns From Humans

Asia Online's statistical machine translation platform has the unique ability to learn in real time and never make the same mistake twice.

Mr. Dion Wiggins, CEO of Asia Online, says, "Asia Online's Statistical Machine Translation platform combines statistical machine translation with an environment for collaborative and continuous improvement. Put simply, this means that the machine constantly learns from humans and continuously improves."

"Part of the translation process is to have human subject matter experts proofread early translations and make corrections as needed. Our platform assists with this proofreading task and then makes a comprehensive analysis of the corrections, from which the platform learns. The result is that the platform will never make the same mistake twice and all subsequent translations are higher quality. We are not just talking about words here… this approach lets the system learn idioms, cultural nuances and industry jargon."

"From our own experience with our Thai Internet Portal project involving millions of page translations, we know the Asia Online statistical machine translation platform learns quickly, even with very difficult languages," says Mr. Wiggins.

Asia Online has already secured several significant language service provider partnerships for its statistical machine translation platform, including McElroy in the USA, Braahmam in India, and Andovar in Singapore.

The company will attend Localization World and will offer selected language service providers and their clients with large-scale, bulk translation requirements a preview of the platform's capabilities with over 200 language pairs. To arrange a demonstration, please contact Kirti Vashee (see contacts.)

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. Its corporate headquarters are in Singapore, and its operational headquarters are 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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