Machine translation has come a long way and while it works to the extent that it enables you to understand what’s written in a foreign language, there’s still a lot of room for improvement to bring up the translation quality up to human standard. Microsoft has now said that it has reached a “historic milestone” with artificial intelligence that matches human performance in translating news from Chinese to English.


A team of Microsoft researchers have said that they think they have created the first machine translation system that’s capable of translating sentences of Chinese news articles to English with the same quality and accuracy as a person.

The researchers, based in Microsoft’s Asia and U.S. labs, claim that their AI system has achieved human parity on the newstest2017 which is a commonly used test set of news stories developed by industry and academic partners.

To ensure that the results were accurate and similar to what a human translator would have done, the team had hired external bilingual human evaluators who compared the AI’s results to two independently produced human reference translations.

While researchers are proud that they have hit human parity on the dataset, they caution that challenges still lie ahead and it remains to be seen if the quality and accuracy will be affected when this machine translation AI is put to the test with real-time news stories.

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