The History of Machine Translation

In recent years, machine translation has become a commonplace element in translation agencies. A good post-editing of a machine translation can produce the same results as a conventional translation and editing. However, not everyone knows this procedure, especially translators and editors.

Although post-editing is a process that is already well known and frequently used in the industry of translation agencies, is not yet precisely defined in the world of freelance translation. In fact, many translators consider it a novel approach. This is far from the truth. The aspiration to access mechanical devices that allow us to overcome language barriers has been in the works for a long time.

Mechanical dictionaries were used (based on universal numeric codes) in use as early as the seventeenth century. These machines were used with the idea of creating a universal language that would allow communication between all humanity and doing away with all ambiguities. Obviously, this means that the idea goes back to long before the creation of computers. No wonder then that with the emergence of computers back in the 1940s, the application of machine translation was already emerging as an innovative practice.

In contemporary times, the practice of machine translation has always been a strong presence in the fields of technology and translation, especially in Europe. In Spain, for example, different stages of research were carried out. One of them, for example, dates from 1985, when international companies such as IBM, Siemens and FUJITS began investigating in the field of machine translation. From these investigations, the use of this practice was developed through increasingly advanced methods, to become what it is today: a professional tool frequently used in the translation industry.

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