Saturday Dec 07, 2013

Translation and UX Trends in the Enterprise: Your Reason to Attend Oracle Apps UX Events

Are you an Oracle partner who wants to know more about what's hot in user experience (UX)? Are you an Oracle applications customer with a workforce that needs to translate material quickly to be productive? Are those workers on the go? Need to keep their hands free? Well, here's just one reason why you need to be aware of the Oracle Applications UX team's outreach and communications programs run by Misha Vaughan (@mishavaughan).

At an Oracle partner event in Manchester in the  UK that the Applications UX team ran with Oracle Worldwide Alliances and Channels for applications partners, the UX team showed what's coming in enterprise applications technology. This included  a demo of Google Glass (that would fall into the "wearables" trend) with Word Lens augmented reality (or AR, that's another hot topic in UX) translation. Attendees were blown away by UXer Noel Portugal (@noelportugal) translating a warning sign from German to English live, in real time (below) just by looking. Think of the enterprise use cases prompted by this alone!

Google Glass with Word Lens translating a German warning sign to English. Noel Portugal demonstrating augmented reality translation in Oracle Manchester, UK, offices.

Noel Portugal using Google Glass Word Lens AR translation app live demo at Oracle Manchester, UK.

You can read more about that event on the Usable Apps blog, "Simple to Use. Simple to Build. Simple to Sell." The UX team is up on the latest in enterprise technology trends, and Oracle partners and customers can participate in shaping its user experience..

The Oracle Applications UX team is running these events for partners and customers worldwide. Stay tuned to the Voice of User Experience (VOX) blog or @usableapps on Twitter for upcoming events, and to your Oracle PartnerNetwork and other channels too.

Saturday Jan 01, 2011

Where Next for Google Translate? And What of Information Quality?

Fascinating article in the UK Guardian newspaper called "Can Google break the computer language barrier?" In the article, Andreas Zollman, who works on Google Translate, comments that the quality of Google Translate's output relative to the amount of data required to create that output is clearly now falling foul of the law of diminishing returns. He says:

"Each doubling of the amount of translated data input led to about a 0.5% improvement in the quality of the output," he suggests, but the doublings are not infinite. "We are now at this limit where there isn't that much more data in the world that we can use," he admits. "So now it is much more important again to add on different approaches and rules-based models."

The Translation Guy has a further discussion on this, called "Google Translate is Finished". He says: 

"And there aren't that many doublings left, if any. I can't say how much text Google has assimilated into their machine translation databases, but it's been reported that they have scanned about 11% of all printed content ever published. So double that, and double it again, and once more, shoveling all that into the translation hopper, and pretty soon you get the sum of all human knowledge, which means a whopping 1.5% improvement in the quality of the engines when everything has been analyzed. That's what we've got to look forward to, at best, since Google spiders regularly surf the Web, which in its vastness dwarfs all previously published content. So to all intents and purposes, the statistical machine translation tools of Google are done. Outstanding job, Googlers. Thanks."

Surprisingly, all this analysis hasn't raised that much comment from the fans of machine translation (MT), or its detractors either for that matter. Perhaps, it's the season of goodwill? What is clear to me, however, of course is that Google Translate isn't really finished (in any sense of the word). I am sure Google will investigate and come up with new rule-based translation models to enhance what they have already and that will also scale effectively where others didn't. So too, will they harness human input and guidance, which really is the way to go in training MT in the right quality direction.

But that aside, what does it say about the quality of the data that is being used for statistical machine translation in the first place? From the Guardian article it's clear that a huge human-translated corpus drove the gains for Google Translate and now what's left is the dregs of badly translated and poorly created source materials that just can't deliver quality translations. There's a message about information quality there, surely.

In the enterprise applications space, where we have some control over content this whole debate reinforces the relationship between information quality at source and translation efficiency, regardless of the technology used to do the translation. But as more automation comes to the fore, that information quality is even more critical if you want anything approaching a scalable solution. This is important for user experience professionals. Issues like user generated content translation, multilingual personalization, and scalable language quality are central to a superior global UX; it's a competitive issue we cannot ignore.

About

Oracle applications global user experience (UX): Culture, localization, internationalization, language, personalization, more. For globally-savvy UX people, so that it all fits together for Oracle's worldwide customers.

Audience: Enterprise applications translation and localization topics for the user experience professional (designers, engineers, developers, researchers)!
Profile

Ultan Ó Broin. Director, Global Applications User Experience, Oracle Corporation. On Twitter: @localization

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