An Exploratory Study of How Technology Supports Communication in Multilingual Groups

An Exploratory Study of How Technology Supports Communication in Multilingual Groups

Milam Aiken (University of Mississippi, USA), Jianfeng Wang (Indiana University of Pennsylvania, USA), Linwu Gu (Indiana University of Pennsylvania, USA) and Joseph Paolillo (University of Mississippi, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2020-9.ch002
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Abstract

In this paper, the authors study how new technology can support multilingual groups. Their results show that no significant difference was found between group members’ comprehension of contributed comments and their stated minimum acceptable understanding. However, comprehension of relevant comments was higher than that for off-topic text, indicating that the sharing of important information was achieved. Further, reading comprehension tests of translations from Chinese, German, Hindi, Korean, Malay, and Spanish to English show that, except for Hindi, the automatic translations achieve accuracies that are acceptable for graduate studies at a university in the United States.
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Mt Comprehension

One of the first demonstrations of a translation system occurred in January 1954 (Hutchins, 2007), and MT was implemented on personal computers in 1981 and on the Web in 1997 (Yang & Lange, 1998). Google Translate (http://translate.google.com/) appeared on the Web a few years later, and accuracy improved considerably when the service began to use statistical machine translation (Lopez, 2008), as tests of 20 MT systems involving translations between English and Chinese or Arabic showed that it was often the most accurate (NIST, 2006). Currently, Google Translate supports 51 languages in 2,550 language-pair combinations, but accuracies vary considerably (Aiken et al., 2009).

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