Organizations & People
Title: A feasibility study of the scope and limitation
of machine translations as a means of disseminating useful reading
material for chemical education to be used on the Internet.
M. Ito and Yoshito
Anthony D. Ashmore,
Choon H. Do, Joseph
J. Lagowski, Norma
Vladimirovich Smetannikov, Ting-Kueh
Soon, and Qiankun
To attempt the bi-directional translation of chemical education
materials from English to other languages and verse versa using
commercially available machine translation software, and to carry
out a feasibility study on the establishment of local translation
centers where bi-directional translation suitable for dissemination
by Internet is regularly carried out.
In the modern age of globalization, the most desirable situation
for all people involved in chemical education is for them to be
able to share all important information and materials related to
their field. Given that a one-language policy (i.e., everything
in English) is an impractical option for a vast number of educators
whose native tongue is not English, translation remains the only
feasible method available to realize proper English language usage.
In the past, translations performed by human translators
were very expensive and time-consuming. In addition, even if translations
were to be undertaken, the cost of dissemination of translated materials
internationally (e.g., postage) would be prohibitive.
In the age of IT, the situation can be changed by
the use of machine translation (MT), an advantage of which is that
the translated materials can directly be disseminated via the Internet
with nominal cost if the relevant infrastructure is in a reasonable
It is often said that the quality of texts obtained
through MT is, at this point in time, poor. Henceforth, we can expect
that rapid progress will be made with translation software technology.
In view of such exciting possibilities, we would like to undertake
the following feasibility studies:
to test the effectiveness of commercially available
MT software in the bi-directional translation of chemical education
- to study the possibility of establishing bi-directional MT centers
in several countries.
- to disseminate the translated materials and information via the
Whenever translation is involved, there is a problem
of copyright. In this project, the problem of copyright can be circumvented
in this way. At the initial (i.e., trial) stage, the material translated
FROM English will be restricted to articles in such journals as
Chemical Education International, Chemistry International,
and some articles in Pure and Applied Chemistry.
As for the materials translated into English,
there should be many good articles written in languages other than
English for the journals edited and published by national chemical
societies. The Chemical Society of Japan, for instance, will agree
and welcome the articles in the Kagaku to Kyoiku (Chemistry
and Education), the monthly journal published by CSJ to be translated
into English and disseminated to the world via Internet. Chemical
societies of other countries will respond in a similar manner. It
must be pointed out no attempt will be made translation among non-English
languages. In other words, bi-directional translation will be attempted
only between English and non-English languages.
Early 2004, Prof. Cardellini has volunteered to test a translation
software from English to Italians; sample texts can be viewed on
, Cardellini 's website devoted to effective teaching for meaningful
learning. For example, see wwwcsi.unian.it/educa/progetti/atkinsit.html,
a translation of Atkins' review of the IUPAC Committee on Chemistry
Education, or wwwcsi.unian.it/educa/strategie/multimed.html,
Agapova's article titled 'Encouraging Independent Chemistry Learning
through Multimedia Design Experiences'.
August 2004 - The task group held a mini symposium
during the 18th ICCE in Istanbul, and three reports (L. Cardellini,
M. Ito, M. Elisa Maia and N. Tarasova) were reviewed, covering tests
of machine translations from English into Italian, Japanese, Portugese
and Russian. The task group beleives that machine translation
is a practical solution to deal with increasing amount of information
distributed on the web in English and other languages. Over the
next two years, tests should be extended to other European and non-European
languages. While the distribution of chemical information should
only be checked by chemists and chemical educators themselves, the
task group will also consider the possibility of having the products
distribution managed by chemistry clearing houses. Examples were
presented by Dr. Tarasova >
see 'Clearing House' project.
Dec 2006 - see updates
reported in CEI 2006 <www.iupac.org/publications/cei/vol7>
Last update: 28 December 2006
<project announcement published
Int. May/June 2003>
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