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2016-11-14

Osaka University and Pixela Corporation started joint research on machine translation of subtitles on October 1, 2016.

This joint group is engaged in creating a system in which Japanese subtitles for hearing impaired individuals, which is  simultaneously sent with images in broadcasting, are extracted from the tuner and translated into natural foreign languages (English, Chinese, or Korean) by a translation server on the Internet, after which the translation is put back to the tuner and displayed with the images in real time. Through this, this group aims to dissolve mistranslation caused by supplementation of the wrong subject and/or wrong separation of words or clauses and drastically improve the quality of translation of subtitles.

In this project, Osaka University has studied concrete measures to produce machine translation of subtitles for videos based on understanding of natural foreign language and culture and evaluation methods of machine translation, and Pixela Corporation has developed a system of more accurate machine translation of subtitles using program genre information based on technology that they developed while involved in digital terrestrial television (DTT) broadcast.

Osaka University became a base of research for 25 languages and cultures where Japanese and international researchers work together after its merger with Osaka University of Foreign Studies. The university has the advantage of being able to explore new interdisciplinary fields and society by combining this research base with the functions of a comprehensive university which have led to industry-academy collaboration.

Based in Osaka, Pixela Corporation was commended by a prime minister for provision of their inexpensive and high-performance tuners for digital terrestrial television (DTT) broadcast and contribution to the dissemination of DTT broadcast. (The transition to DTT was completed in 2011.) The company created a system for translating subtitles for TV programs using their program genre information (patent pending).

This joint group makes efforts to improve the accuracy of subtitle translation by using the two partners’ strengths and provide a large impact to tourists from overseas. Pixela is commercializing this system in the first half of 2017. Research results by this joint group will be commercialized accordingly. Initially, this system will be installed at public institutes, tourist information centers, and hotels. This will go beyond subtitle translation of TV programs, developing into a form of daily conversation consisting of fragmentary words.

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