Microsoft Wins Machine Translation Award

This year saw the fourth Conference on Machine Translation (WMT19) name Microsoft’s Research Asia team as the major winners when they claimed the title in eight of the nineteen categories for machine translation.

These included Chinese-English, English-Finnish, English-German, English-Lithuanian, French-German, German-English, German-French, and Russian-English. They also finished second in English-Kazakh, Finnish-English, and Lithuanian-English.

Over fifty tech teams, comprising of both business and academic institutions, took part in the competitions which saw AI based machine translation systems compete against one another for top place in a variety of language pairs.

Microsoft have long claimed that their Machine Translation system is able to perform with a similar accuracy to human translators. This may be a little premature, however, the numerous wins over many categories shows they offer a plausible alternative for the future.

Assistant managing director of Microsoft Research Asia, Tie-Yan Liu said “The Microsoft Research Asia team applied innovative algorithms to its system, which significantly improved the quality of the machine-translation results.”

Liu went on to say that translation is not as straightforward as it may first appear but is in fact, a complex process that must take account of factors such as, tone, nuance, dialect, and culture. Liu stated that “Language is complex and nuanced, as people can use different words to express the exact same concept. Hence, developing multidimensional algorithms is important in evolving machine translation systems so that they can deliver better outcomes.”

According to Market Research Engine, the battle for supremacy in the field of AI and Machine Translation is well underway, with the global AI market expected to see an annual compound growth of 37% over the next five years.

The driving factors for this surge in AI are believed to be:

• Growth in information

• Growth in adoption of Cloud-Based Applications and Services

• Demand for intelligent Virtual Assistants

While the main restriction within the field of Artificial Intelligence is:

• Lack of AI specialists


Global View Research Inc, another company researching the potential for AI machine translation suggest that the market size will “reach USD 983.3 million by 2022…exhibiting a 14.6% CAGR during the forecast period”.

They believe the “reinvention of computer-aided translational tools and growth of adaptive machine translation has considerably widened the scope of the machine translation market”.

Key players in the field of AI development are IBM Corporation, SDL PLC, Lionbridge Technologies Inc. Asia Online Pte Ltd, and Lighthouse IP Group.

The industries which will see an increased use in machine translation are likely to be sectors such as automotive, military & defence, electronics, IT, travel and tourism, and healthcare.

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