Machine Translation & Its Growing Number of Applications

Lucy Xu
October 15, 2019
4 min read

As Machine Translation (MT) continues to open up new horizons in the localization world, the industry and its global businesses are now ushering in a new era of more efficient translations by optimizing machine and human translation efforts. With this, we see more and more research, innovation, and applications of MT that previously would have been thought unimaginable.

As MT continues to optimize translation for users and businesses across industries, we are seeing more and more innovative use cases of organizations and companies leveraging Machine Technology and related AI-driven translations to break down language barriers. In this next post of our #MachineTranslation series, we take a closer look at the latest updates of this rapidly changing MT world and the growing number of applications it is bringing.

Facebook Researchers Use Math for Better Translations

Today, MT tools still rely primarily on dictionaries, glossaries, and other similar word databases to make foreign languages more accurately translated and understandable for global markets. As big tech players like Facebook and Apple continue to bet on Machine Translation as the next frontier of language and communication, we have seen some new innovation updates from their research helms. Specifically, Facebook researchers are finding that numbers may be the key to unlocking a new type of MT that produces better translations: “rendering words into figures and exploiting mathematical similarities between languages [and creating] a promising avenue,” as the Inquirer details.

Teaching & Training MT to Write Like the New Yorker

When it comes to Machine Translation, the machine is as smart as the word databases and human teaching it receives. Today, more and more ‘smart’ text composers pop up – from predictive text for emails to robotic localization applications in more technical fields – and bring with them the hope of even more advanced applications.

This recent piece by the New Yorker explores the possibility of using MT and AI to report and write articles, breaking down exactly how machine intelligence works and the current potential for applying it to as human-centric a field as journalism, proposing the futuristic question: “What if some much later iteration of [Machine Translation], far more powerful than [current models], could be hybridized with a procedural system, so that it would be able to write causally and distinguish truth from fiction and at the same time draw from its well of deep learning?”

Localization tackling Medical Emergencies with Text-to-911 Translation

While translation, localization, and its more technologically-advanced counterpart of Machine Translation continues to help global businesses make strides across their respective industries, there is one area in particular that is starting to see the true benefits of machine-driven translations: the medical field. Specifically speaking, “there is an increasingly pressing need for PSAPs to be able to translate text-to-911 messages sent in languages other than English,” as reported in this latest article by EMS1.

In reality, while “the introduction of texting to 911 emergency call centers from mobile phones opened up a new way to contact public safety officials, public safety answering points (PSAPs) face a real problem if the texts are in a foreign language.” And here is where Machine Translation would come in: “With the growing adoption of text-to-911 services, industry leaders see an increasingly pressing need to be able to translate text-to-911 messages sent in languages other than English.”

Translation tech, apps, and devices are changing business

With more global businesses and organizations investing in localization to reach their global markets, there comes with this trend a wave of an increasing number of applications and services helping to ‘translate’ these localization advantages for day-to-day users. By this token, one area in particular to keep an eye on is the rise of translation technology and devices that are not only changing the game for businesses, but for the wide range of end users.

In fact, “pocket translators are quickly becoming a vital tool for businesses and tourists alike. More efficient than a call-in translation service, better suited for business meetings than a smartphone app, and instantly ready to perform the moment they’re needed, these small but powerful language tools are changing how we communicate,” as reported  by Japan Today.


It’s clear that more and more businesses and users from various industries find innovative applications of Machine Technology. To try out MT (for free!) to take your business global, sign up for your 15-day free trial of Transifex today.

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Lucy Xu
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