While machine translation is gradually breaking down language barriers left and right, Lithuania is taking it a step further. In a project financed by the Lithuanian government, Tilde, together with Vilnius University, have developed a free machine translation platform for Lithuanian citizens and residents to ensure information and service accessibility.
Ten years ago, a Europe-wide study conducted by META-NET* placed Lithuanian among European languages with the weakest technology support, but today, Lithuania moves to the frontrunners of language digitalization.
This is a major step towards protecting and strengthening the Lithuanian language in the digital age,” said Dr. Arūnas Samuilis, project manager at Vilnius University. “Not only does it help to preserve our precious language, but it also gives our citizens and public institutions free access to world-renowned machine translation systems and speech recognition tools along with other language resources."
Versatile online translation platform for everyday use
The free online platform offers rich functionality for text and document translation. In addition, it is also easy to create automatic transcripts and translations of audio files or dictated speech. The platform API integrates machine translation and speech recognition in various public e-services and information systems for broader usage possibilities. These tools not only help to overcome language barriers, but they also ensure information accessibility, improve productivity, and enable people with visual impairments or dyslexia to use digital services.
Anyone can use vertimas.vu.lt for their personal or professional needs, as it ensures complete data security and confidentiality while also preserving the original format and layout of the source document. Moreover, people can also access foreign websites by instantly translating the entire website content, which has been an especially popular feature. Almost 3 million words have been translated already using the website translation functionality.
Reliable translation platform
The platform is based on the Tilde Neural Machine Translation technology - winner of the WMT 2019 competition for the best English-Lithuanian machine translation system. The platform features 16 translation systems for Lithuanian, English, Russian, German, French, and Polish, including both general systems and specialized systems for IT and legal domains.
We are thrilled that Lithuanians now have access to the latest AI-powered language technologies” said Artūrs Vasiļevskis, Head of Machine Translation at Tilde. “Public sector institutions, organizations and companies that want to have these technologies in their own working environment can adapt and customize them according to their needs. For example, add new language pairs and new functionality, such as pdf translation, dynamic adaptation and more.”
Additional options for governmental organizations
For public sector institutions, website translation stretches a bit further. Instant website translation can be integrated into websites or e-services to provide real-time translation functionality for the audience. The site visitor can select the desired language and in a split second, all of the website content is translated, while preserving the layout and style of the page. This is a major step towards ensuring information accessibility and inclusivity regardless of what language one speaks.
The Lithuanian State Language Inspectorate has already integrated the instant website translator into their website allowing users to browse content in their preferred language. The Information System for Integrated Lithuanian Language and Scripture Resources will also include the website translator in their latest website launch, ensuring a more engaged experience for page visitors.
Vertimas.vu.lt was developed through the project “Machine Translation systems and localization services improvement and development” financed by the Lithuanian government and the European Union. Vilnius University was looking to modernize their machine translation platform by improving translation engine quality with the latest neural machine translation technologies, adding new language pairs, functionality, and a whole new infrastructure service. Based on Tilde’s experience and expertise in developing national language technology platforms, it was chosen to complete the project.
* META-NET White Paper Series: Key Results and Cross-Language Comparison — META Multilingual Europe Technology Alliance
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