Machine Interpreting (Speech Translation)

M.INTerpreting - A communicative approach to exploring Machine Interpreting in conference settings

In recent years, speech translation has gained momentum thanks to the swift advances in artificial intelligence. The dramatic improvements in the quality of automatic transcription and interlingual translation have led to the developement of experimental and commercial applications for use in non-professional and semi-professional environments, and they are expected to enter professional settings at some point in the near future. National and international institutions, for example, are currently looking at the implementation of such technologies to support multilingual communication.

Speech translation has the potential to increase the communicative inclusion of both people with hearing impairment, learning disabilities and cognitive restrictions as well as of people that do not share the language of the community they are living in.


An empirical investigation on machine interpreting has so far mostly been conducted within the framework of computer science, for instance with the goal of improving the current widely used cascading approach to speech-to-speech translation, or of exploring the potential of end-to-end systems. So far, investigations have been technology-centered and evaluation has been conducted with the goal of measuring improvements over time and development cycles.

What is still missing is a communicative approach to the analysis and evaluation of machine interpreting as an agent of multilingual communication. The project has at least three broad areas of interest:

  • Evaluating machine interpreting in real interactions between humans
  • Understanding the societal impacts of machine interpreting
  • Analyzing how MI and in general AI may influence the work environment of professional interpreters

These are the areas that we want to cover with our project.

The project is funded by the Mainzer Inneruniversitäre Forschungsförderung