Project report

Customer:WN PWN
Objective:An automatic translation system for individual users
Year deployed:2004 - 2012

The product

Translatica is an automatic translation system which attempts to replicate the work of a human translator based on knowledge of vocabulary and language rules. Translatica makes use of the knowledge contained in the major dictionaries from PWN Scientific Publishers, and translates in accordance with rules for grammatical and stylistic correctness. The program is designed for individual users who use general vocabulary, not connected with a specific field of science or business.

The problem

At the beginning of the 21st century the first commercial automated translation systems began to appear in Poland. The first such product performed word-for-word translation without analysing the context or stylistic considerations. Users were frustrated by the quality of its results, and some examples of its translations became a ripe target for jokes (like the phrase “Thank you from the mountain” instead of “Thank you in advance” – for Polish Z góry dziękuję – although this popular example is in fact a mere invention).

The solution

Translatica was very well received by the market. This system was able to translate words with multiple meanings (like zamek, which may mean either “lock”, “zip” or “castle”) in different ways depending on the context, and moreover paid attention to correct grammar and careful style. The first version was released in 2004, and offered translation between Polish and English. In subsequent years successive improved versions appeared, also offering translation into German and Russian. Moreover the system dictionaries were constantly expanded, to include – among others – words found in the colloquial language and in online texts. As a result, the complete database of vocabulary contained in our system now exceeds two million words and expressions.

The system currently offers automated translation in the language pairs Polish–English, Polish–German and Polish–Russian, and Translatica supports translation in both directions.

Until 2010 the system was retailed through bookshops and multimedia chains in the form of CDs containing dictionaries. Our application won awards at Expo 2005 and at the Poznań International Fairs in 2007.

Since 2012 our platform has been available free online at translatica.pl, part of a group of language portals that we have built for PWN Scientific Publishers.

The online system is used by 12,000 to 29,000 people daily.

We created an automatic translation system of extremely high quality three years ahead of Google. Impressive? So let’s talk about what we might do for you!