Hancom fuses translation app with AI technology

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Hancom fuses translation app with AI technology

Hancom, a Korean software developer, has adopted advanced technology for its translation app that can provide more accurate results which better reflect the way people speak.

The app, GenieTalk, will utilize an artificial intelligence-based technology known as neural machine translation, which Google and Naver have already incorporated into their translation apps to produce more natural-sounding translations.

So far, GenieTalk used a hybrid of rule-based machine translation and statistical machine translation, which dissects sentences into phrases, looks them up in a large vocabulary pool and then rearranges the translated phrases. This method was susceptible to producing awkward translations.

Neural machine translation, on the other hand, uses an artificially-intelligent neural network to work on whole sentences at once and figure out the best translation. The system is modeled on the human brain and can learn from past actions to solve new problems without being programmed to do so. This generates more natural-sounding translations.

“In this rapidly growing translation and interpretation service market, a three-way battle - between Hancom, Google and Naver - will unfold,” a Hancom spokesman said Wednesday.

Hancom was established in 1990 as an office suite software developer and is best known for developing a native Korean word processing program called Hangul. Recently, it has been expanding into development of artificial intelligence.

GenieTalk will be the official translation software for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, making it responsible for helping some 40,000 athletes and visitors from around the world with translation and interpretation. Hancom will develop an interpretation device that won’t require an internet connection as well as a website that can translate lengthy documents into various languages.

For the upcoming Olympics, it is developing a robot that specializes in translation and interpretation, in partnership with Future Robot, a local robot developer. Based on the prototype the two companies unveiled last week, the humanoid robot will have the face of a woman and hold a monitor that shows the input language and translation. The robot can make various facial expressions, the developers said.


BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun@joongang.co.kr]

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