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4 Types of Machine Translation in NLP

  • Riya Kumari
  • Dec 31, 2020
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“The way that people have traditionally solved this problem is that they’ve hired translation agencies which are expensive and time-consuming. They only pick out their most important pieces to do and they leave all that value on the table”- Andy Jassy, CEO, Amazon Web Services


How do you feel if you are talking to someone and they are not understanding your language? Yes, you will feel terrible. This topic is totally about understanding languages. Machine translation itself gives hints that it is related to translating and NLP or Natural Processing Language suggests that it is related to language. Yes, you are right this topic is related to translating languages. Machine translation or MT translates one natural language into another language automatically.


The best thing about machine translation is that it can translate large swatches of text in a very short time. Most of us were inaugurated to machine translation when google arose with the service. However, the belief has been over since the normal of the last century. Analysis work in machine translation or MT began as early as the 1950s, mainly in the United States. 


During this blog, we will discuss in detail machine translation in NLP, how it works, the benefits of machine translation, applications of machine translation, different types of machine translation in NLP, and many more.



What is a machine translation and how does it work?


Machine Translation or MT or robotized interpretation is simply a procedure when a computer software translates text from one language to another without human contribution. At its fundamental level, machine translation performs a straightforward replacement of atomic words in a single characteristic language for words in another. 


Using corpus methods, more complicated translations can be conducted, taking into account better treatment of contrasts in phonetic typology, express acknowledgement, and translations of idioms, just as the seclusion of oddities. Currently, some systems are not able to perform just like a human translator, but in the coming future, it will also be possible.


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In simple language, we can say that machine translation works by using computer software to translate the text from one source language to another target language. There are different types of machine translation and in the next section, we will discuss them in detail.



Different types of machine translation in NLP


There are four types of machine translation:


  1. Statistical Machine Translation or SMT


It works by alluding to statistical models that depend on the investigation of huge volumes of bilingual content. It expects to decide the correspondence between a word from the source language and a word from the objective language. A genuine illustration of this is Google Translate. 


Presently, SMT is extraordinary for basic translation, however its most noteworthy disadvantage is that it doesn't factor in context, which implies translation can regularly be wrong or you can say, don't expect great quality translation. There are several types of statistical-based machine translation models which are: Hierarchical phrase-based translation, Syntax-based translation, Phrase-based translation, Word-based translation. 

This image is indicating different types of machine translation like statistical machine translation, rule-based machine translation, and hybrid machine transation.

Types of Machine Translation

  1. Rule-based Machine Translation or RBMT


RBMT basically translates the basics of grammatical rules. It directs a grammatical examination of the source language and the objective language to create the translated sentence. But, RBMT requires broad editing, and its substantial reliance on dictionaries implies that proficiency is accomplished after a significant period. (Also read: Top 10 Natural Processing Languages (NLP) Libraries with Python)



  1. Hybrid Machine Translation or HMT


HMT, as the term demonstrates, is a mix of RBMT and SMT. It uses a translation memory, making it unquestionably more successful regarding quality. Nevertheless, even HMT has a lot of downsides, the biggest of which is the requirement for enormous editing, and human translators will also be needed. There are several approaches to HMT like multi-engine, statistical rule generation, multi-pass, and confidence-based.


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  1. Neural Machine Translation or NMT


NMT is a type of machine translation that relies upon neural network models (based on the human brain) to build statistical models with the end goal of translation. The essential advantage of NMT is that it gives a solitary system that can be prepared to unravel the source and target text. Subsequently, it doesn't rely upon specific systems that are regular to other machine translation systems, particularly SMT.




What are the benefits of machine translation?


One of the crucial benefits of machine translation is speed as you have noticed that computer programs can translate a huge amount of text rapidly. Yes, the human translator does their work more accurately but they cannot match the speed of the computer.


If you especially train the machine to your requirements, machine translation gives the ideal blend of brisk and cost-effective translations as it is less expensive than using a human translator. With a specially trained machine, MT can catch the setting of full sentences before translating them, which gives you high quality and human-sounding yield. Another benefit of machine translation is its capability to learn important words and reuse them wherever they might fit. 


( Related blog: Introduction to Text Analytics and Models in Natural Language Processing)


Applications of machine translation


Machine translation technology and products have been used in numerous application situations, for example, business travel, the travel industry, etc. In terms of the object of translation, there are composed language-oriented content text translation and spoken language.


  • Text translation


Automated text translation is broadly used in an assortment of sentence-level and text-level translation applications. Sentence-level translation applications incorporate the translation of inquiry and recovery inputs and the translation of (OCR) outcomes of picture optical character acknowledgement. Text-level translation applications incorporate the translation of a wide range of unadulterated reports, and the translation of archives with organized data.


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Organized data mostly incorporates the presentation configuration of text content, object type activity, and other data, for example, textual styles, colours, tables, structures, hyperlinks, etc. Presently, the translation objects of machine translation systems are mostly founded on the sentence level. 


Most importantly, a sentence can completely communicate a subject substance, which normally frames an articulation unit, and the significance of each word in the sentence can be resolved to an enormous degree as per the restricted setting inside the sentence. 


Also, the methods and nature of getting data at the sentence level granularity from the preparation corpus are more effective than that dependent on other morphological levels, for example, words, expressions, and text passages. Finally, the translation depends on sentence-level can be normally reached out to help translation at other morphological levels.



  • Speech translation


With the fast advancement of mobile applications, voice input has become an advantageous method of human-computer cooperation, and discourse translation has become a significant application situation. The fundamental cycle of discourse interpretation is "source language discourse source language text-target language text-target language discourse". 


In this cycle, programmed text translation from source language text to target-language text is an important moderate module. What's more, the front end and back end likewise need programmed discourse recognition, ASR and text-to-speech, TTs.


(Read also: Introduction to Natural Language Processing: Text Cleaning & Preprocessing)



  • Other applications


Naturally, the task of machine translation is to change one source language word succession into another objective language word grouping which is semantically the same. Generally, it finishes a grouping transformation task, which changes over a succession object into another arrangement object as indicated by some information and rationale through model and algorithms.


All things considered, many undertaking situations total the change between grouping objects, and the language in the machine translation task is just one of the succession object types. In this manner, when the ideas of the source language and target language are stretched out from dialects to other arrangement object types, machine translation strategies and techniques can be applied to settle numerous comparable change undertakings.



Machine Translation vs Human translation


  • Machine translation hits that sweet spot of cost and speed, offering a truly snappy path for brands to translate their records at scale without much overhead. Yet, that doesn't mean it's consistently relevant. On the other hand, human translation is incredible for those undertakings that require additional consideration and subtlety. Talented translators work on your image's substance to catch the first importance and pass on that feeling or message basically in another assortment of work.


  • Leaning upon how much content should be translated, the machine translation can give translated content very quickly, though human translators will take additional time. Time spent finding, verifying, and dealing with a group of translators should likewise be considered.


  • Numerous translation programming providers can give machine translations at practically zero cost, making it a reasonable answer for organizations who will be unable to manage the cost of expert translations.


  • Machine Translation is the instant modification of text from one language to another utilizing artificial intelligence whereas a human translation, includes actual brainpower, in the form of one or more translators translating the text manually. 




Machine translation is mainly equipment that assists marketers or translators to accomplish a motive. However, it is not a replacement for the old systems of translation, instead, it is a modification. Many machine-based translators considerably offer their services free of charge, making them much more alluring, especially to organizations and learners. 


Machine translators analyze the structure of the first content, at that point, separate this content into single words or short expressions that can be easily translated. At last, they reconstruct those single words or short expressions using the very same structure in the picked target language.

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