SYSTRAN, founded by Dr. Peter Toma in 1968, is one of the oldest machine translation companies. SYSTRAN has done extensive work for the United States Department of Defense and the European Commission.
Commercial versions of SYSTRAN can run on Microsoft Windows (including Windows Mobile), Linux, and Solaris. Historically, SYSTRAN systems used Rule-based machine translation (RbMT) technology. With the release of SYSTRAN Server 7 in 2010, SYSTRAN implemented a hybrid rule-based/Statistical machine translation (SMT) technology which was the first of its kind in the marketplace.
With its origin in the Georgetown machine translation effort, SYSTRAN was one of the few machine translation systems to survive the major decrease of funding after the ALPAC Report of the mid-1960s. The company was established in La Jolla in California to work on translation of Russian to English text for the United States Air Force during the Cold War. Large numbers of Russian scientific and technical documents were translated using SYSTRAN under the auspices of the USAF Foreign Technology Division (later the National Air and Space Intelligence Center) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The quality of the translations, although only approximate, was usually adequate for understanding content.
The company was sold in 1986 to the Gachot family, based in Paris, and is now traded publicly on the French stock exchange. Its company headquarters is in Paris, while its U.S. headquarters is still in La Jolla.
During the dot-com boom, the international language industry started a new era, and SYSTRAN entered into agreements with a number of translation integrators, the most successful of these being WorldLingo.
Most of SYSTRAN's revenue comes from a few customers. 57.1% comes from the 10 main customers and the three largest customers account for 10.9%, 8.9%, and 8.9% of its revenues, respectively. Revenues had been declining in the early 2000s: 10.2 million euros in 2004, 10.1 million euros in 2005, 9.3 million euros in 2006, 8.8 million euros in 2007, and 7.6 million euros in 2008, before seeing a rebound in 2009 with 8.6 million euros.
The following is a list of the source and target languages with which SYSTRAN works. Many of the pairs are to or from English or French.
- Asia Online
- Bilingual dictionary
- Bing Translator
- Comparison of machine translation applications
- Google Translate
- Systran: Past and Present - http://pages.unibas.ch/LIlab/staff/tenhacken/Applied-CL/3_Systran/3_Systran.html#history
- Google Switches to Its Own Language System, Google Operating System, October 2007
- Grunwald, David. "Inside SYSTRAN Training Server 7". GTS. Retrieved May 2011.
- "SYSTRAN annual financial report 2008" (PDF). SYSTRAN. 2008. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
- "SYSTRAN annual financial report 2009" (PDF). SYSTRAN. 2009. p. 63. Retrieved 2012-04-04.