Aarne Ranta, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Gothenburg
Title: Automatic Translation for Consumers and ProducersAbstract:
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.
This talk 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. He made his doctoral studies at the University of Stockholm and defended his PhD at the University of Helsinki in 1990. After seven years as Junior Fellow of the Academy of Finland, he worked at Xerox Research Centre Europe in Grenoble in 1997-1999, after which he joined the Department of Computing Science of Chalmers University of Technology and University of Gothenburg. Ranta’s research started theoretically with constructive type theory and its applications to natural language semantics. This evolved gradually to computational applications, leading to the implementation of GF (Grammatical Framework) at Xerox. 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. Ranta has supervised ten PhD graduates and written three books. GF has developed into an open-source community with over 200 contributors on five continents, producing software for over 30 languages. As a spin-off of his research, Ranta is co-founder and CEO of the start-up company Digital Grammars AB.