Facebook will now make translations entirely using artificial intelligence

04 August, 2017, 16:37 | Author: Becky Perry
  • Facebook will now make translations entirely using artificial intelligence

Their platform now accounts for more than 2,000 translation directions and 4.5 billion translations each day.

"To remedy this and build our neural network systems, we started with a type of recurrent neural network known as sequence-to-sequence LSTM (long short-term memory) with attention", software engineers Necip Fazil Ayan, Juan Miguel Pino, and Alexander Sidorov, members of Facebook's Applied Machine Learning team, said in a blog post. These sorts of models' shortcomings were particularly evident when translating between languages with really different sentence structures.

Neural networks will open new doors for future development, Facebook says. "As a result, all machine translation models at Facebook have been transitioned from phrase-based systems to neural models for all languages". While this made it easier for this technology to process them, it also meant that words were only considered one at a time, meaning the whole sentence's context may not be taken into account.

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However, creating seamless, highly-accurate translation experiences for the 2 billion people who use Facebook is hard, and it needed to improve its systems. Support for RNNs was added to Caffe 2 as part of the translation system project, and the results of that effort will be released, we're told.

The translation process has to be fast for it to be effective - or users will get impatient and shun it. Beam search is used to narrow down the possible translation options by choosing commonly used phrases.

In May, Facebook's artificial intelligence division, Facebook AI Research announced that they have developed some kind of neural network called CNN (Convolution Neural Network) that looks at words not individually but in groups. Now researchers are working on expanding the CNNs to other languages. "We will continue to push the boundaries of neural machine translation technology, with the aim of providing humanlike translations to everyone on Facebook", the social media giant concluded.

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