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In Google Inc.'s vision of the future, people will be able to translate documents instantly into the world's main languages, with machine logic, not expert linguists, leading the way.
Google's approach, called statistical machine translation, differs from past efforts in that it forgoes language experts who program grammatical rules and dictionaries into computers.
Instead, they feed documents humans have already translated into two languages and then rely on computers to discern patterns for future translations.
While the quality is not perfect, it is an improvement on previous efforts at machine translation, said Franz Och, 35, a German who heads Google's translation effort at its Mountain View headquarters south of San Francisco.