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automatic language translation

Contributor(s): Ashleigh Wakeling

Automatic language translation is the use of a computer program to translate input text from one national language to another while maintaining the original document format. Yahoo and some other sites offer what is sometimes called instant translation using such a tool. Since language is heavily dependent on context and connoted as well as denoted meaning, a program needs to have access to such context as well as the ability to use it. Since providing enough context is difficult, automatic language translation thus far seems to be successful only in limited and well-understood situations and as a first time-saving step toward translation (or "post-editing") by a human being.

This was last updated in September 2005

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