This week, Microsoft presented an award of appreciation to American University of Phnom Penh students for their continued service and help in the Microsoft Translator Hub project. Since August 2016, students at AUPP have been steadily involved in a Microsoft project which is developing a new type of translation software. Microsoft, a world leader in computer technologies for decades, contacted AUPP to request participation from its students in the translation phase of the development of this new technology. There are certainly several translation technologies that exist on the market today that can translate quickly and easily from English to Khmer and vice versa. However, there are still many problems with inaccuracy when it comes to translating whole sentences and phrases while still maintaining the correct meaning. For example, when using existing translation software, such as Google Translate, to translate a sentence that contains an idiom such as, “it was back-breaking work,” you will get a literal word-for-word translation such as, “it had to come back to break the work”.
It is easy to see why there is still a very relevant need for continued improvement of translation technologies that exist today. As Cambodia continues to expand its international commerce as well as increase in foreign investment in the country, the need for quick and accurate translation software is incredibly vital. AUPP students involved in the Microsoft translation project named “Translator Hub” are providing 100,000 different sentences and phrases of translated text in both English and Khmer which will then be entered into a database to be used in the development of new Microsoft translation software. Microsoft and AUPP have formed a memorandum of understanding with oversight of the Ministry of Commerce of Cambodia in regards to the project. The Ministry of Commerce is especially excited to see that continued progress in translation technology is being developed which will in turn help businesses and commerce in the kingdom.