Multilingual Communication, Multilingualism and Machine Translation
In September 1301, the king of Aragon, James II, wrote urgently to his treasurer commanding him to get the royal Librum medicine vocatum Avicenne out of pawn. He had allowed his favourite surgeon to pawn the volume with a Barcelona merchant for 500 sueldos, but now he found a "valda necessarium" and had to have it back.
Five hundred sueldos was an enormous amount, the price of fifty meters of Persian cloth, of a good mule or of a horse and not even the royal treasury always found such sums easy to produce. The king had to repeat his order for the book''s redemption for months to come. This volume, on which the king placed so much store, can only have been Avicenna''s Canon, the great medical encyclopedia of Ibn Sina, translated into Latin in the twelfth century.*
In 1964, the U.S. Government established the Automatic Language Processing Advisory Committee (ALPAC) to evaluate the progress of Computational Linguistics and the potentials of Machine Translation (MT).
Translation is the complex process of transferring the components of a message from one language and culture into another language and culture. These components can be in the form of "language" (most of the time) or colors, shapes, sounds, etc. For the transfer process to succeed, all ingredients of the original message should be clear and well defined.
The future of multilingualism and the success of multilingual communication rely on the progress made in the field of Automatic Translation, or Machine Translation (MT). Unless we spread the awareness of the existence of MT, no progress can be made in this domain. Collaboration between writers and MT specialists is vital.