Machine Translation for Manufacturing: A Case Study at Ford Motor Company
Machine translation (MT) was one of the first applications of artificial intelligence technology that was deployed to solve real-world problems. Since the early 1960s, researchers have been building and utilizing computer systems that can translate from one language to another without requiring extensive human intervention. In the late 1990s, Ford Vehicle Operations began working with Systran Software Inc. to adapt and customize its machine-translation technology in order to translate Ford's vehicle assembly build instructions from English to German, Spanish, Dutch, and Portuguese. The use of machine translation was made necessary by the vast amount of dynamic information that needed to be translated in a timely fashion. The assembly build instructions at Ford contain text written in a controlled language as well as unstructured remarks and comments. The MT system has already translated more than 7 million instructions into these languages and is an integral part of the overall manufacturing process-planning system used to support Ford's assembly plants in Europe, Mexico and South America. In this paper, we focus on how AI techniques, such as knowledge representation and natural language processing can improve the accuracy of machine translation in a dynamic environment such as auto manufacturing.
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