Automating TranslationSafaba Translation Solutions, LLC, a spinoff of Carnegie Mellon University's Language Technologies Institute, has launched a new service that lets companies directly tap into the power of automated language translation to enhance global communications and marketing.
Safaba customizes state-of-the-art machine translation to conform to each client company's branding and the vocabulary of its business domain. It operates on a software-as-a-service model, hosting and maintaining software on its own servers that clients can access remotely.
Its systems already provide translation for 22 languages, with another five languages set for deployment soon.
These Safaba-engineered systems can significantly reduce the time necessary to produce translated text, while also delivering translations with far higher quality than possible with generic online translation programs.
Alon Lavie (CS'93,'96) research professor in CMU's Language Technologies Institute and the president and CEO of Safaba, said statistical machine translation technologies, once optimized for a client by Safaba, can easily double translation output.
"Human translators typically produce about 2,500 words per day," Lavie said. "With Safaba's machine translation, we can increase that velocity to 5,000 or 6,000 words per day. This allows Safaba's clients to migrate a more complete brand to global markets and deliver the customer experience they want."
Though machine translation technology promises significant increases in translation productivity, fine-tuning the solutions takes knowledge beyond the capability of most companies and even most translation firms, noted Lavie, who earned his Ph.D. in computer science at CMU.
"Developing machine translation systems isn't for the fainthearted, but our people have intimate knowledge of this technology, both as users and developers," he said. "We know how to tear apart these open-source systems, add customized components and re-assemble them in ways that optimize performance to meet a company's specific needs."
In addition to Lavie, the management of the Pittsburgh company includes Vice President of Engineering Robert Olszewski (CS'94,'01), who also earned his Ph.D. in computer science at CMU, and Vice President of Business Development Udi Hershkovich, who has nearly 20 years of experience in the software industry.
Safaba has received support through the School of Computer Science's Project Olympus and CMU's Center for Technology Transfer and Enterprise Creation. They are part of a collection of campus incubator groups, known as Greenlighting Startups.
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