Distributed Language Translation

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Distributed Language Translation or Distribuita Lingvo-Tradukado (DLT) was a project to develop an interlingual machine translation system for twelve European languages. It ran between 1985 and 1990.

The distinctive feature of DLT was the use of [a version of] Esperanto as an intermediate language (IL) and the idea that translation could be divided into two stages: from L1 into IL and then from IL into L2. The intermediate translation could be transmitted over a network to any number of workstations which would take care of the translation from IL into the desired language. Since the IL format would have been disambiguated at the source, it could itself serve as a source for further translation without human intervention. — Job M. van Zuijlen (one of the DLT researchers)

DLT was undertaken by the Dutch software house BSO (now part of Atos Origin) in Utrecht in cooperation with the now defunct Dutch airplane manufacturer Fokker and the Universal Esperanto Association.

The project's results were far from the expected. From a modern view, the DLT concept was erroneous in itself, as it couldn't distinguish the different meanings of the same word in different contexts. Modern statistic-based and context-based translation programs are able to produce a better translation.[citation needed]

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