Machine translation

Machine translation, sometimes referred to by the abbreviation MT, is a sub-field of computational linguistics that investigates the use of computer software to translate text or speech from one natural language to another. At its basic level, MT performs simple substitution of words in one natural language for words in another. Using corpus techniques, more complex translations may be attempted, allowing for better handling of differences in linguistic typology, phrase recognition, and translation of idioms, as well as the isolation of anomalies.

Current machine translation software often allows for customisation by domain or profession (such as weather reports) — improving output by limiting the scope of allowable substitutions. This technique is particularly effective in domains where formal or formulaic language is used. It follows then that machine translation of government and legal documents more readily produces usable output than conversation or less standardised text.

Improved output quality can also be achieved by human intervention: for example, some systems are able to translate more accurately if the user has unambiguously identified which words in the text are names. With the assistance of these techniques, MT has proven useful as a tool to assist human translators, and in some cases can even produce output that can be used “as is”.



  • International Association for Machine Translation (IAMT)
  • Machine Translation, an introductory guide to MT by D.J.Arnold et al. (1994)
  • Machine Translation Archive by John Hutchins. An electronic repository (and bibliography) of articles, books and papers in the field of machine translation and computer-based translation technology
  • Machine translation (computer-based translation) — Publications by John Hutchins (includes PDFs of several books on machine translation)
  • Machine Translation and Minority Languages
  • John Hutchins 1999


  • Apertium – an open-source shallow-transfer machine translation engine and toolbox

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

Video: Machine Learning and Machine Translation

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