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New language software in works

Microsoft Cambodia late last week requested the cooperation of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports in creating a Khmer-language version of Microsoft’s Translator Hub, translation software that the ministry hopes could broaden internet use, and improve the Kingdom’s “digital literacy”.

According to Chhourn Piseth, a technology adviser with Microsoft Cambodia, the computing giant hopes to use the MoEYS’ Khmer linguistic skills to build a reliable Khmer translator, before turning the program over to the public.

“They know best about the national language, over the whole country, because they are a ministry of the government,” Piseth said yesterday. “So we want them to control the quality of the translation, and provide feedback, and they also can provide the data [for translations].

“The first phase will be putting in all the important words and phrases,” Piseth added, noting that the phase would take about a year. “The second phase will be … improving on what’s wrong with feedback from the users.”

Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron said yesterday that the ministry and Microsoft hope to sign a memorandum of understanding “in the next couple of weeks”, and said the new software would present another option to Google Translate.

“We have Google [so] you can translate from Khmer text to English, and vice versa, but the quality may not be excellent,” Chuon Naron said. “This could have a big impact on the Khmer language.”



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