TRADAUT-PT - Automatic Translation System from and into Portuguese for Public Administration
Dec 2000 - Apr 2003
The project is established under Action Line 3.2 of the Multilingual Information Society (MLIS) Programme.
Ultimately, it aims at developing the best quality machine translation modules between Portuguese on the one hand and English and French on the other, which can be used effectively. In particular, the aim is to facilitate communication between official bodies of the EU Member States and with the EU. Diminishing language barriers contributes to improve mutual understanding and facilitates co-operation. An additional aim is to stimulate the development of commercial products that may help the industry when addressing foreign markets.
The Project concerns the improvement of the translations performed by the application already in use at the Translation Service of the Commission and the development of a similar product to cover the language pairs EN-PT, PT-EN, PT-FR. The top priority is translation from and into English. This is dictated by the market demand as shown by the results of a survey carried out within the Public Administration which presented a volume of about 31,000 pages translated per year, most of them from and into English. French is a very important language as well, in particular within Latin European countries.
The fields envisaged are that of Administration, Informatics, Customs, Professional Training, Employment, Environment, Social Security, and Water resources. Governmental bodies and Agencies from these areas have intensive contacts with counterparts in different countries and have expressed their willingness to provide corpora, terminology and to analyse results. In some areas CEIA has already done some work in identifying specific terms and related expressions.
FCT and its partners aim to achieve with this project modules that provide the users with a real tool to fulfil their needs in terms of obtaining translated texts in the different languages with an acceptable level of quality. The modules to be developed are intended for use by official bodies in Portugal and in the other Member States and by EU institutions, during the project. They will therefore be largely tailored to the context of the participants, such as the law and legislation, standards, social security, environment, customs etc. At the same time, these modules should provide the basis for use in other types of text (e.g. economy) and in other fields of application (e.g. Internet). To achieve good quality, the modules need to be further adapted to the specific requirements of the fields in question. This is a job for the market operators involved in the project. Further tailoring to particular fields and users is therefore beyond the scope of this project.
The applications and functions, which the project should be able to handle, include:
Automatic translation of the official texts of the Member States and EU as input for post-editing by human translators
Automatic translation of texts as end products for browsing by non-translators
Moreover, the project is primarily aimed at the public sector within the EU. This includes:
Departments of the Portuguese official institutions in particular those willing to act as test sites and the Instituto Camões who is specifically responsible for defence of the Portuguese language abroad and is a partner in the project.
All departments of the administration who will be encouraged to use the system. Many referred the costs they incurred in outsourcing translation services and welcome the help of an automatic translation system while too busy to participate in the project.
The translation services and other users of the official institutions of the other Member States.
The EU institutions, in particular the European Commission’s Translation Service (SdT)
Practically, there are no translation services within the Portuguese public administration or the private sector. Free lancers through direct contracts or service provider enterprises do translations.
At a later stage it will be quite useful to involve these professionals to assess the quality of the product and contribute to its improvement.