So where do we go from here? We seem to be reaching the limits of what can be achieved with SMT. The European Commission Moses project has spawned diverse commercial implementations. The issue with the many commercial offerings of SMT is both how to accumulate the required volume of aligned text and to develop the best delivery mechanism. The only practical vehicle for delivery is via integration with computer-aided translation tools.
SMT must be viewed within the context of its value to translators. At best it is an aide that can be used for monolingual translation, which is a euphemism for SMT post-editing by translators or editors with only a cursory knowledge of the source language. In essence, SMT offers more fuzzy matching, and there is a real ceiling on quality past which any further increases in the aligned language store offer virtually no incremental benefits.
Any further advances will require a significant change of direction — a move back to syntactical analysis and a hybrid approach incorporating rule-based translation and an abstract notation to denote meaning, thus allowing for multiple language combinations. There is much to be done in this field, and XML should be at the forefront of establishing the required formats. To be practical, this will require a significant input for each language in terms of the Princeton WordNet and associated Global WordNet. In order for this to prosper, an open licensing format will be required as well as a great deal of work. This is an ideal task for the academic community sponsored by industry and governments. . .