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Technology 08.09.18 BLOG 

Raising the Bar for Neural Machine Translation

By The TransPerfect AI Team

translation is complicated

Raising the Bar for Neural Machine Translation

Neural machine translation (NMT) research has advanced at a breakneck pace in recent years, with promising results. In most cases, NMT systems outperform other machine translation technologies—making it a major focus of R&D investment for MT research centers and language services companies.

TransPerfect’s MT team has been hard at work enhancing our proprietary neural MT solutions. Recently, we’ve been focusing on broad, generic models using mixed training data from different subject matters. The quality of translations those models produce has been impressive from the very beginning.

To test our models, we selected source English texts from five different fields: medical, financial, legal, hotel/travel, and news articles. We then translated each data set into a wide collection of languages, using TransPerfect’s proprietary engine, as well as the two best publicly available NMT systems. Finally, our MT-specialized linguists conducted a blind evaluation of the resulting translations, assessing both accuracy and fluency.

The results were more than promising. Across all language combinations and topics, our models met or exceeded the quality scores of competing systems. Performance was particularly outstanding for the medical and financial texts, with superior accuracy and fluency scores across all languages. For Arabic (a particularly challenging language for MT), TransPerfect’s NMT performed more than 10% better than the other two MT systems across all five topics.

For neural MT, this is only the beginning. NMT technology is still in its infancy and has room for improvement on localization-specific requirements, such as terminology enforcement—something extremely important for many of our clients—and tag placement. In addition, while using generic models is always a viable option, our main strength has always been—and still is—customization. Creating client-tuned or in-domain NMT models brings the translation quality to the next level. This is what adds the biggest value to TransPerfect’s neural MT solution.

For more information, email our neural MT solutions experts at

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