The FIB professor receives a Starting Grant to research an inclusive machine translation system.
Monday 14 September 2020
The researcher and professor at the UPC, Marta Ruiz Costa-Jussà, has received a Starting Grant awarded by the European Research Council (ERC). This European grant for research of excellence will contribute to the development of a project that explores new methods of machine translation of text and voice.
Marta Ruiz Costa-Jussà, a researcher at the department of Computer Science, has recently won a grant of 1.5 million euros from the ERC. With the LUNAR project (Lifelong Universal lAnguage Representation), Ruiz Costa-Jussà will study a more efficient machine translation system than those offered nowadays, with similar qualities for majority and minority languages as well.
In particular, research will be done on improvements in the neuronal systems, which are the basis of machine translation since 2014. Despite depending on translation banks, the system based on deep learning establishes a sort of intermediate language with a mathematical nature where all the translations are operated. That streamlines the process, and by focusing on encoding and decoding the "transitory language”, it achieves a better quality. Moreover, the LUNAR project will try to find a solution to the problem of underrepresented languages in text and audio databases that supply the system.
It should be pointed out that with LUNAR it would be possible to use the system in machine voice translation. If successful, this would be a major breakthrough in this field of research, as it is a feature that big companies have yet to develop. Ethics are a key aspect in translation systems, and this project will endeavour to report and mitigate as much as possible the biases that currently exist in machine translations..