Language barriers come down with WebSphere

IBM has launched a new translation server as part of its WebSphere software range to enable real time, two-way translation for the Web

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By  Mark Sutton Published  January 10, 2001

IBM has launched new WebSphere software that will enable instantaneous translation for web pages, email and online chat. The WebSphere Translation Server uses advanced machine translation technology to provide real time two-way translation for multiple languages.

The software will be available from March, and will be capable of translating up to 500 words per second, between English and French, German, Spanish, and Italian, and from English to Chinese, Japanese and Korean. WebSphere is compatible with NT, AIX, and Solaris. By deployment of the WebSphere Translation Server, businesses will be able to distribute web content to a global audience without having to provide multi-language web infrastructure. Web communities will also be able to use multi-lingual web chat for internal and external communication.

“The ability of our customers to offer quick, convenient, multi-lingual translation makes their Web content available to a much wider audience, who speak many languages,” said Ozzie Osborne, general manager of IBM Voice Systems. “In addition, as an integrated component of both the Lotus family and of IBM WebSphere’s proven architecture, based on open standards, the IBM WebSphere Translation Server can help businesses of any size dramatically increase their global reach with a limited investment.”

The machine translation market is expected to boom in the next few years. IDC predicts the market, which is currently composed of a few small players, will be worth $378 million by 2003.

One of the first users of the system is Deutsche Bank Private Banking division, which will use WebSphere Translation Server to facilitate the automatic translation of Internet and intranet content in its new Knowledge Management System. Marco Stein, project leader of Global Private Banking Intranet, Deutsche Bank said: "The ability to support bi-directional translation for a wide range of languages was an important consideration for us. We also needed a system which actually understood the grammars of the various languages, much more than just a translation of individual words. Finally, we were looking for a solution that provided flexibility, yet one which was economic in its use of resources.. The target group of 6,500 employees worldwide will use the system to save time while translating and reading documents."

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