Aarne Ranta
​Aarne Ranta, Professor of Computer Science, University of Gothenburg

Do you trust an automatic translation?

Automatic translations has had a rapid development and exceeds by far the expectations from just a few years ago. But still, will they ever become reliable enough for professional purposes?, asks Professor Aarne Ranta, at our Initiative seminar on Digitalisation.


“Today's automatic translation delivers results that are more fluent and "human-like" than could be imagined just some years ago. However, a good-looking translation can still be terribly wrong. It may, for instance, say the opposite of the original message by leaving out the negation word.

Most of current technology is actually designed for consumers: to find out what some text is about. This happens at the consumer's own risk: neither the publisher of the original text nor the provider of the translation software is responsible for the translation.

But the situation is different for producers of information, for instance, when authorities publish official translations. This scenario is less often addressed in research; it has even been argued that automatic translation can never become reliable enough for producer tasks.”

Professor Aarne Ranta from Gothenburg University will give a presentation titled Automatic Translation for Consumers and Producers, where he will focus on some problems and techniques of translation, trying to identify what can and what cannot be reliably automated, and give examples where reliable quality is actually reachable.

Aarne Ranta is Professor of Computer Science at the University of Gothenburg. His research was initially focused on constructive type theory and its applications to natural language semantics. It evolved gradually to computational applications, leading to the implementation of GF (Grammatical Framework). The mission of GF is to formalize the grammars of the world and make them available for computer applications. It enables the processing of natural language with the same precision as programming languages are processed in compilers.

Read more about the initiative seminar Digitalisation - opportunities and challenges, 15-16 March. Registration is open.

Published: Fri 13 Jan 2017.