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Free translation software for students and staff

Autshumato is a series of open-source translation software that has been developed by the Centre for Text Technology (CTexT®) at North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus) since 2007. The project was initiated and sponsored by the Department of Arts and Culture with the aim of developing and releasing free translation technologies to improve multilingualism in South Africa. The Autshumato development team is now releasing the following translation services to the NWU’s students and staff:

  • Autshumato Machine Translation Web Service: The Autshumato Machine Translation Web Service enables students and staff to translate sentences, documents and web pages from English to Afrikaans, Setswana, Sepedi and Xitsonga. The development of translation systems to other South African languages is in the process. Follow the link to use the service: http://mt.nwu.ac.za/
  • NWU Termbank: The NWU Termbank is a collection of subject specific words translated in your language. This database contains general terminology from all the official South African languages as well as NWU subject specific terminology in Afrikaans and English. This service is available to anyone with access to the NWU network and will assist you to study in the language of your preference. Get access to the NWU Termbank at http://tms.nwu.ac.za/

What is Machine Translation?
Machine Translation (MT) happens when a computer attempts to automatically translate a provided text from one language into another. The search for accurate MT systems is an ongoing quest. Such systems have proved to be very beneficial in the modern global village as they allow people to communicate without extensive knowledge of each other’s language.

What can I expect from MT?
MT is not perfect and cannot replace skilled human translators. It can however aid in the translation process to ensure more consistency and can speed up the process by providing possible translations. Computers are not effective in determining the context of a text and, as such, most errors found in MT translations are context specific errors.

The Autshumato project has the following outputs:

  • MT systems for automatic translation between several South African language pairs
  • An Integrated Translation Environment
  • A Terminology Management System
  • MT Web Service
  • Research published concerning the development of the MT systems
  • Various other tools, corpora and resources for the official South African languages

To read more about the project, see the latest news and obtain the releases, visit: http://autshumato.sourceforge.net

CTexT®, the developers of the software, strives to promote multilingualism at North-West University and runs a variety of language technology projects (such as the development of spelling checkers for ten South African languages) and thrives on new challenges and new ideas. Read more about CTexT® at www.nwu.ac.za/ctext

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