Publications on the history of machine translation

by John Hutchins

 

Update: February 2013 [* = additions since previous update]

 

Books

Machine translation: past, present, future. (Ellis Horwood Series in Computers and their Applications.) Chichester, Ellis Horwood, 1986. 382p. ISBN: 0-85312-788-3.

(edited) Early years in machine translation: memoirs and biographies of pioneers. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2000. xii, 400 pp. ISBN: 90-272-4586-x, 158811-013-3 (Amsterdam Studies in the Theory and History of Linguistic Scince, Series III: Studies in the History of the Language Sciences, 97)

 

General histories

 

Machine translation: a concise history. Journal of Translation Studies, vol.13, nos.1-2 (2010). Special issue: The teaching of computer-aided translation, ed. Chan Sin Wai. (Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2010); pp.29-70. [PDF, 216KB]

Machine translation: history of research and use. In: Encyclopedia of Languages and Linguistics. 2nd edition, edited by Keith Brown (Oxford: Elsevier 2006), vol.7, pp.375-383. [PDF, 445KB]

Machine translation over fifty years. Histoire, Epistémologie, Langage. Vol. 23 (1), 2001: Le traitement automatique des langues [ed. Jacqueline Léon], 7-31.  [PDF, 160KB]

Reflections on the history and present state of machine translation. In: MT Summit V proceedings, Luxembourg, July 10-13, 1995. [pp. 89-96]  [PDF, 106KB]

Machine translation: a brief history. In: Concise history of the language sciences: from the Sumerians to the cognitivists. Ed. E.F.K.Koerner and R.E.Asher (Pergamon, 1995), pp.431-445. [PDF, 186KB]

Machine translation: history and general principles. In: The encyclopedia of languages and linguistics. Editor-in-chief: R.E.Asher. Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1994. vol.5, pp.2322-2332. [PDF, 156KB]

 

Special aspects

Has machine translation improved? some historical comparisons MT Summit IX: proceedings of the Ninth Machine Translation Summit, New Orleans, USA, September 23-27, 2003. [East Stroudsburg, PA: AMTA], p. 181-188.  [PDF, 191KB]

An expanded version [PDF, 288KB] illustrates further aspects, and a database gives longer examples of MT texts from the past, with comparative output from some current systems.

The origins of the translator’s workstation. Machine Translation 13(4), 1998, 287-307 [printed December 1999]  [PDF, 170KB]

Reflections on the history and present state of machine translation. In: MT Summit V proceedings, Luxembourg, July 10-13, 1995. [pp. 89-96]  [PDF, 106KB]

Linguistic models in machine translation. UEA Papers in Linguistics 9, January 1979, pp.29-52. [PDF, 197KB] 

 

Special periods

            1980s and 1990s

Research methods and system designs in machine translation: a ten-year review, 1984-1994. In: Machine Translation: Ten Years On, 12-14 November 1994. Organised by Cranfield University in conjunction with the Natural Language Translation Specialist Group of the British Computer Society (BCS-NLTSG). British Computer Society, [1994] 16pp. [And in: International conference: Machine Translation: Ten Years On. Proceedings edited by Douglas Clarke and Alfred Vella, Cranfield University, England, 12-14 November 1994 (Bedford: Cranfield University Press, 1998), 4: 1-16.]  [PDF, 149KB]

Twenty years of Translating and the Computer. Translating and the Computer 20: proceedings of the Twentieth International Conference on Translating and the Computer, 12-13 November, 1998, London. (London: Aslib, 1998). 16pp. [PDF, 169KB]

Recent developments in machine translation: a review of the last five years. In: New directions in machine translation: conference proceedings, Budapest 18-19 August 1988. Editors: Dan Maxwell, Klaus Schubert, Toon Witkam. (Distributed Language Translation 4). Dordrecht: Foris Publications, 1988. pp.7-62. [PDF, 329KB]

Out of the shadows: a retrospect of machine translation in the eighties. Paper presented at Computer & Translation ‘89, Tbilisi (Georgia), November-December 1989. In: Terminologie et Traduction no.3, 1990, 275-292 [PDF, 130KB]

Recent developments in machine translation: a review of the last five years. In: New directions in machine translation: conference proceedings, Budapest 18-19 August 1988. Editors: Dan Maxwell, Klaus Schubert, Toon Witkam. (Distributed Language Translation 4). Dordrecht: Foris Publications, 1988. pp.7-62. [PDF, 329KB]

 

            to 1979

Machine translation and machine-aided translation. Journal of Documentation 34(2), June 1978, 119-159 (Progress in Documentation). [Reprinted in: Translation: literary, linguistic, and philosophical perspectives. Edited by William Frawley. (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1984); pp. 93-149] [PDF, 378KB]

The evolution of machine translation systems. In: Practical experience of machine translation: Proceedings of a conference, London 5-6 November 1981, ed. by V.Lawson.Amsterdam, North-Holland Publ.Co., 1982. pp.21-37 [PDF, 190KB]

ALPAC: the (in)famous report. MT News International 14, June 1996, 9-12. Repr. (with minor revisions) in: Nirenburg, S., Somers, H. and Wilks, Y. (eds.) Readings in machine translation. (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2003), 131-135. [PDF, 102KB]

The Georgetown-IBM experiment demonstrated in January 1954. Machine translation: from real users to research: 6th conference of the Association for Machine Translation in the Americas, AMTA 2004, Washington, DC, USA, September 28 - October 2, 2004. Proceedings, ed. Robert E.Frederking and Kathryn B.Taylor (Berlin:Springer, 2004), 102-114.  [PDF, 168KB] – [expanded version, written November 2005, not published: The first public demonstration of machine translation: the Georgetown-IBM system, 7th January 1954. [PDF, 1773KB]

Looking back to 1952: the first MT conference. In TMI-97: proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Theoretical and Methodological Issues in Machine Translation, July 23-25, 1997, St.John's College, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. [Las Cruces: Computing Research Laboratory, New Mexico State University]: 19-30. [PDF, 144KB]

First steps in mechanical translation. In: MT Summit VI: past, present, future. Proceedings, 29 October – 1 November 1997, San Diego, California. Edited by Virginia Teller and Beth Sundheim. [Washington,D.C.: Association for Machine Translation in the Americas, 1997] pp. 14-23. [PDF, 142KB]; presentation [with some additions] [PDF, 187KB]

From first conception to first demonstration: the nascent years of machine translation, 1947-1954. A chronology. Machine Translation 12 (3), 1997: 195-252. [PDF, 326KB] The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com. Also a corrected version, with minor additions (2005) [PDF, 328KB]

 

Historical personages

* Obituary - Victor H.Yngve. Computational Linguistics 38 (3), pp.461-467. [PDF, 66KB]

Bar-Hillel, Yehoshua. Encyclopedia of Linguistics, ed. Philipp Strasny (New York: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2005), vol.1, 124-126.  [PDF, 89KB]

Yehoshua Bar-Hillel: a philosopher’s contribution to machine translation. In: Hutchins, W.John (ed.) Early years in machine translation (Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2000), p.299-312. [PDF, 183KB]

Gilbert W. King and the USAF Translator. In: Hutchins, W.John (ed.) Early years in machine translation (Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2000), p.171-176. [PDF, 132KB]

Warren Weaver and the launching of MT: brief biographical note. In: Hutchins, W.John (ed.) Early years in machine translation (Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2000), p.17-20. [PDF, 113KB]

(with Evgeny Lovtskii) Petr Petrovich Troyanskii (1894-1950): a forgotten pioneer of mechanical translation. Machine Translation 15 (3), 2000, 187-221.  [PDF, 279KB]

Two precursors of machine translation: Artsrouni and Trojanskij. International Journal of Translation 16(1) Jan-June 2004, 11-31. [PDF, 289KB]

 

Other (shorter) articles

History of MT in a nutshell. A two-page sketch, from the beginnings to the present. [Written 2000-2001, revised November 2005]

Machine translation: general overview. In: Mitkov, Ruslan (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Computational Linguistics. (Oxford: University Press, 2003), 501-511. [PDF, 134KB]

Milestones no.6: Bar-Hillel and the nonfeasibility of FAHQT. International Journal of Language and Documentation no.1 (September 1999), 20-21  [PDF, 105KB]

Warren Weaver memorandum: 50th anniversary of machine translation. MT News International issue 22 (vol.8 no.1), July 1999, p.5-6, 15   [PDF, 102KB]

Milestones in machine translation. No. 5: The IBM-Georgetown demonstration, January 1954. Language Today no.16 (January 1999), 19-20.  [PDF, 106KB]

Milestones in machine translation. Part 4: The first machine translation conference, June 1952. Language Today no.13 (October 1998), 12-13.  [PDF, 96KB]

Milestones in machine translation. Part 3: Bar-Hillel’s survey, 1951 Language Today no.8 (May 1998), p.22-23  [PDF, 91KB]

Milestones in machine translation. Part 2: Weaver’s 1949 memorandum. Language Today, no.6 (March 1998), p.22-23  [PDF, 107KB]

Milestones in machine translation. Part 1: How it all began in 1947 and 1948. Language Today, no.3 (December 1997), p.22-23 [PDF, 84KB]

Fifty years of the computer and translation. MT News International 16 (February 1997), 14-15. Repr. in: Machine Translation Review, no.6 (October 1997), p.22-24. [PDF, 95KB] On Weaver’s memorandum.

“The whiskey was invisible”, or persistent myths of MT. MT News International 11 (June 1995), 17-18. [PDF, 92KB]

The Georgetown-IBM demonstration, 7th January 1954. MT News International 8 (May 1994), 15-18. [PDF, 103KB]

The first MT patents. MT News International 5 (May 1993), 14-15. [PDF, 113KB] On Artsrouni and Troyanskii.

The first MT conference, 1952. MT News International 2 (May 1992), 11-12. [PDF, 96KB]

 

Powerpoint presentations

 

Milestones in the history of machine translation. Presentation on 15 November 2012 at Science Museum, London. [PDF, 373KB]

 

Outline of the evolution of machine translation. Presentation on panel held at Aslib conference “Translating and the Computer 30”, 27 November 2008. [PDF, 88KB]

Milestones in the history of machine translation. Presentation at the conference “Current issues in theoretical and applied linguistics”, 11 December 2007, Chelyabinsk, Russia. 29 slides. [PDF,  115KB]

First steps in mechanical translation. Presentation at MT Summit VI: past, present, future. October 1997 [PDF, 187KB]

 

Unpublished articles

* Historical sketch of machine translation in Eastern and Central Europe. [2012, unpublished] [PDF, 230KB]

The first public demonstration of machine translation: the Georgetown-IBM system, 7th January 1954. [Written November 2005] A much expanded version [PDF, 1773KB] of the AMTA-2004 paper (see above); and including contemporary photographs. Appendices give the original sentences in Cyrillic, transliterated and translated; the dictionary entries; and a list of contemporary reports. Also available are copies of some reports.

Machine translation: half a century of research and use. Paper prepared for UNED summer school, Avila 2003. [PDF, 201KB]

The historical development of machine translation. Submission for Ph.D. by Publication, at University of East Anglia., 1999. [PDF, 148KB]