Timeline of machine translation

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The content on this page is forked from the English Wikipedia page entitled "Timeline of machine translation". The original page still exists at Timeline of machine translation. The original content was released under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License (CC-BY-SA), so this page inherits this license.

This is a timeline of machine translation. For a more detailed qualitative account, see the history of machine translation page.

Numerical and visual data

Google Scholar

The following table summarizes per-year mentions on Google Scholar as of October 19, 2021.

Year "machine translation"
1950 0
1955 64
1960 200
1965 272
1970 180
1975 135
1980 174
1985 373
1990 856
1995 1,100
2000 1,880
2005 3,570
2010 5,820
2015 7,800
2020 24,300
Machine translation gsch.png

Google Trends

The comparative chart below shows Google Trends data Machine translation (Field of study) and Machine translation (Search term), from January 2004 to March 2021, when the screenshot was taken. Interest is also ranked by country and displayed on world map.[1]

Machine translation gt.png

Google Ngram Viewer

The chart below shows Google Ngram Viewer data for Machine translation, from 1900 to 2019.[2]

Machine translation ngram.png

Wikipedia Views

The chart below shows pageviews of the English Wikipedia article Machine translation, on desktop from December 2007, and on mobile-web, desktop-spider, mobile-web-spider and mobile app, from July 2015; to February 2021.[3]

Machine translation wv.png


Year Month and date (if available) Event type Event
1924 February Proposal The first known machine translation proposal was made in Estonia and involved a typewriter-translator.
1933 July 5 Proposal Georges Artsrouni patents a general-purpose device with many potential applications in France. He seems to have been working on the device since 1929.[4]
1933 September 5 Proposal Peter Petrovich Troyanskii is awarded an author's certificate (patent) for a proposal to use a mechanized dictionary for translation between languages.[4][5]
1939-1944 Proposal Troyanskii approaches the Academy of Sciences in Russia with his proposal for machine translation, seeking to work with linguists. Discussions continue till 1944, but not much comes out of it.[5]
1949 July Proposal Warren Weaver, working for the Rockefeller Foundation in the United States, puts forward a proposal for machine translation based on information theory, successes of code breaking during the second world war and speculation about universal underlying principles of natural language.[6]
1954 January 7 Demonstration The Georgetown-IBM experiment, held at the IBM head office in New York City in the United States, offers the first public demonstration of machine translation. The system itself, however, is no more than what today would be called a "toy" system, having just 250 words and translating just 49 carefully selected Russian sentences into English — mainly in the field of chemistry. Nevertheless, it encourages the view that machine translation was imminent — and in particular stimulates the financing of the research, not just in the US but worldwide.[7]
1958-1960 Report In 1958, linguist Yehoshua Bar-Hillel travels around the world visiting machine translation centers to better understand the work they were doing. In 1959, he writes up a report (intended primarily for the US government) pointing out some key difficulties with machine translation that he believed might doom the efforts then underway. An expanded version of the report is published in 1960 in the annual review journal Advances in Computers.[8] His main argument was that existing methods offered no way of resolving semantic ambiguities whose resolution required having an understanding of the terms being used, such as the ambiguity arising from a single word having multiple meanings.
1966 Report ALPAC publishes a report commissioned by the United States government. The report concludes that machine translation is more expensive, less accurate and slower than human translation, and that despite the expenses, machine translation is not likely to reach the quality of a human translator in the near future. It recommends that tools be developed to aid translators — automatic dictionaries, for example — and that some research in computational linguistics should continue to be supported.[9][10] The report causes a significant decline in government funding for machine translation in the US, and to a lesser extent in the UK and Russia.
1968 Creation of organization SYSTRAN is started by Peter Toma.Template:Fix/category[citation needed]
1970 Creation of organization Logos is started by Bernard Scott.Template:Fix/category[citation needed]
1977 Deployment The METEO System, developed at the Université de Montréal, is installed in Canada to translate weather forecasts from English to French, and is translating close to 80,000 words per day or 30 million words per year until it is replaced by a competitor's system on 30 September 2001.[11]
1984 Proposal Makoto Nagao proposes example-based machine translation. The idea is to break down sentences into phrases (subsentential units) and learn the translations of those phrases using a corpus of examples. With enough phrases known, new sentences that combine existing phrases in a novel manner can be translated.[12]
1997 Web translation tool The world's first web translation tool, Babel Fish, is launched as a subdomain of the AltaVista search engine. The tool is created by Systran in collaboration with Digital Equipment Corporation.[13][14]
2006 April Web translation tool Google Translate is launched.[15]

See also


  1. "Machine translation". Google Trends. Retrieved 11 March 2021. 
  2. "Machine translation". books.google.com. Retrieved 11 March 2021. 
  3. "Machine translation". wikipediaviews.org. Retrieved 11 March 2021. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Hutchins, John (2004). "Two precursors of machine translation" (PDF). Retrieved February 1, 2014. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Hutchins, John; Lovtskii, Evgenii (2000). "Petr Petrovich Troyanskii (1894-1950): A Forgotten Pioneer of Mechanical Translation". Machine Translation. Springer. 15 (3): 187–221. JSTOR 40009018. 
  6. "Weaver memorandum". March 1949. Archived from the original on 2006-10-05. 
  7. Hutchins, J. (2005). "The history of machine translation in a nutshell" (PDF). Template:Fix/category[self-published source]
  8. Hutchins, John (2000). "Yehoshua Bar-Hillel: A Philosopher's Contribution to Machine Translation" (PDF). Retrieved February 1, 2014. 
  9. "Languages and Machines: Computers in Translation and Linguistics". ALPAC. 1966. Retrieved February 1, 2014. 
  10. Hutchins, John (1996). "ALPAC: the (in)famous report" (PDF). Retrieved February 1, 2014. 
  11. "PROCUREMENT PROCESS". Canadian International Trade Tribunal. 30 July 2002. Archived from the original on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2007-02-10. 
  12. Makoto Nagao (1984). "A framework of a mechanical translation between Japanese and English by analogy principle". In A. Elithorn and R. Banerji. Artificial and Human Intelligence (PDF). Elsevier Science Publishers. 
  13. "Real-Time Machine Translation on the Internet". Infotektur.com. May 1998. Retrieved 2012-07-18. 
  14. Edge, Business (2003-05-15). "BabelFish on the move - Business Edge News Magazine Archives". Businessedge.ca. Retrieved 2012-09-20. 
  15. "Our history in depth (2006)". Google. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 

Category:Machine translation Machine translation