A team of Microsoft researchers today announced that their new machine translation system can translate sentences of news articles from Chinese to English with the same quality and accuracy as a person. This is the first time a machine translation system has achieved human parity.
Microsoft’s researchers tested their system using newstest2017 test which was developed by a group of industry and academic partners. To confirm that the result is on par with human translators, Microsoft Research hired external bilingual human evaluators to evaluate the result.
“Hitting human parity in a machine translation task is a dream that all of us have had,” Xuedong Huang, a technical fellow in charge of Microsoft’s speech, natural language and machine translation efforts said. “We just didn’t realize we’d be able to hit it so soon.”
Microsoft is now planning to apply this technology to other language pairs and use it in commercially available translation products such as Microsoft Translator.