MODELA, machine translation in Basque

It´s a fact, machine translation tools have never been “so precise” if we talk about Spanish-Basque/Basque-Spanish translations. The true is that the Basque language is very different from any other language in the world, so that makes difficult for a machine to work with it and, many times, this leads to incomprehensible (and even funny) translations.

That´s why we have created MODELA, the new machine translation tool for this language combination. MODELA is the only neural machine translation system for Basque-Spanish/Spanish-Basque, which is really useful for such a complex language like Basque.

In fact, the previous systems (based on rules and statistics) translate the text using a previous memory, and choosing through probability the right answer. With this new system, however, the tool learns a new way to get the correct answer through mathematical functions and artificial intelligence, which gives surprising results. The translations given by the neural machine translators are more “natural”, and easy to understand. Thus, the “big” language couples such as English-Spanish are already moving to the neural machine translation system and we have wanted to apply this new technology also for Basque.

Next step is to put MODELA in your hands. The website we are creating will be available for free, but will have certain limits. It´s important to know that the system needs a special server working nonstop and, therefore, we need to put limits to be able to maintain it. Anyway, there will be payment packs available to use MODELA without any limit.

Several organizations have participated in this project: ISEA (Coordinator of innovation projects for MondragonLingua), the IXA group of the EHU/UPV (Basque public university), Vicomtech, Ametzaigaina and Elhuyar. The funding comes from the Elkartek subsidy.