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2019/20 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

MODL5003M Principles and Applications of Machine Translation

15 creditsClass Size: 40

Module manager: Dr Bogdan Babych

Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

This module is mutually exclusive with

MODL5005MComputers and the Translator

This module is not approved as an Elective


On completion of this module, students should be able to:
- Explain the principal architectures of machine translation (MT) and their rationales.
- Describe the achievements and limitations of commercially available MT systems.
- Assess which text types are most suitable for processing with these technologies.
- Use one or more commercial MT systems to produce translations.
- Create new dictionaries for one or more commercial MT systems.
- Conduct evaluations of MT systems from both a user's perspective and a developer's perspective.
- Orient themselves in the MT research literature.


This module aims to equip you with the ability to advise organisations whether it makes sense to use machine translation (MT) to support their multilingual information needs. To do this, you need a combination of conceptual knowledge and practical experience providing answers to the following questions.

- What are the general problems in enabling machines to 'understand' language?
- What are the particular problems of translation by machine?
- How are programs designed to solve these linguistic problems efficiently?
- Which text types are most amenable to MT?
- What are the different uses of MT output?
- How can a user improve the performance of an MT system?
- How can MT be integrated into an organisation's workflow?
- What systems are available?
- What are the most appropriate and reliable techniques for evaluating MT systems?
- What alternatives to MT exist?

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours130.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

24 hours - reading
48 hours - preparation for classes
58 hours - background reading / preparation for assessment.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Monitoring of weekly practical classes and dictionary exercise.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Case StudyCase study of 1,500 words100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 26/09/2019


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