2010 Horizon.museum Short List

2010 Horizon.museum Report Short List pdf

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years

Critical Challenges

Key Trends

Statistical Machine Translation

Time-to-Adoption: Four to Five Years
Over the past few years, a transformation has taken place in machine translation tools as rule-based translation systems have given way to statistical language analysis techniques that use known translations (e.g., United Nations archives and other open content) to derive nuances and meanings not easily addressed by rule-based systems. Tools like Google Translate have used statistical methods to move machine translation to the point where it is now a viable, low-cost, and easy option for automated, rapid translation on web content. While the translation tools are not yet perfect, they are fairly accurate in most cases, and are well-suited for credible on-the-fly translations.

The ability to embed translation tools quickly and easily into websites such that the viewer may choose a preferred language removes the need to prepare individual copies of online material in different languages. This simplifies upkeep and maintenance as well as making it easier to deploy new content quickly. Statistical machine translation is an increasingly robust and low-cost option that has developed to the point where it is a viable and easy solution for museums looking to make general information easily available in multiple languages.

Relevance for Museum Education and Interpretation

  • As museums extend their collections to global audiences, support for multiple languages is critical.
  • As work progresses in this area, we may see machine translation expanding to the point where it can manage discipline-specific vocabulary translations and reduce the need for thesauri.
  • Statistical machine translation offers the promise of automated translations that, while not perfect, are “good enough” for most applications. Where engagement with the audience is the key outcome, providing a way to reach speakers of other languages will open the door to wider audiences.


For Further Reading

Google Translate
Google Translate is an online translation tool provided by the search company. It can be used directly at this URL but it can also be used to embed into to other websites to help with translations.

MOLTO Translation and Retrieval Systems for Museum Objectshttp://www.molto-project.eu/node/944
This portion of MOLTO has not been built out yet, but it demonstrates that this project is specifically thinking about incorporating museums into the translation tool. The focus appears to be translations for museum object descriptions.