IBM's research team comes up with a new tool that translates text between English and 11 other languages.
IBM's research team has come up with a
new tool that translates text between English and 11 other languages.
The new software technology is known as n.Fluent and is pronounced
"en-fluent," IBM officials said. IBM
employees use it to instantaneously translate electronic documents and Web
pages-even live, instant messages exchanged on smartphones.
IBM said the foundation of n.Fluent was
an internal IBM crowdsourcing project, based
on the usage patterns of IBM's nearly
400,000 employees in more than 170 countries, where IBM
volunteers contributed to submit, update and continuously refine word
translations. Indeed, every time it is used, n.Fluent "learns" and
improves its translation engine. To date, the tool has been used by IBMers to
translate more than 40 million words, IBM
Moreover, during a two-week period this past summer, volunteer linguists at IBM
crowdsourced approximately 1.3 million words, averaging contributions of
approximately 100,000 words per business day. Subsequent campaigns are
currently under way across the company to generate and hone more
language-related data, the company said.
"To become a smarter planet, the world needs a shared vocabulary for
collaboration-particularly the business community," said David Lubensky,
an IBM researcher managing the n.Fluent
project. "We see n.Fluent as just such a tool, helping to expand commerce,
cement relationships and make the world that much smaller, one word at a
IBM said n.Fluent can be used for Chinese
(Simplified and Traditional), Korean, Japanese, French, Italian, Russian,
German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Arabic.
Meanwhile, IBM volunteers also work on
DigiCapE and Agora, two other language-related crowdsourcing projects developed
by IBM researchers, the company said. These
are technologies that enable people to easily locate, transcribe, synchronize,
tag, caption and share audio from a video file. Other examples of crowdsourcing
at IBM include Voyage, a wiki where IBMers
publish, update, edit and share tips related to business travel.
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.