Slate Rocks LLC is a software company developing cross-platform machine translation applications under the Slate™ brand (from tranSLATE). It sells products via its e-commerce website and supports hundreds of customers in over 30 countries around the globe.
Slate Rocks LLC is registered in Florida, USA with additional offices in Georgia, USA and Bangkok, Thailand. Two principles manage daily operations and a handful of capable freelance software developers maintain and update our software. Please feel free to send questions and comments via our Contact Us page or the email address below.
Simplify machine translation technologies for translation professionals to deliver quality, productivity and privacy.
Beginning in the 1950’s, teams of linguists and engineers carefully crafted rules-based machine translation (MT) systems using first-generation technologies. Primitive computers and languages’ complexities limited MT systems to specific professional use cases. By the end of the 20th century, MT was entrenched as a complex, expensive, expert-driven technology for specialized use.
In the early 2000’s, a second-generation MT used more powerful computers, machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies to deliver significant quality improvements.
The Heart and Soul of Machine Translation
Machine learning is the heart of all modern machine translation. It “studies” translation memories to learn translation rules and saves that knowledge as a translation engine. Most online services use models that learned generic knowledge from translation memories across a broad range of topics. This configures the service for millions of users.
Some online services use models that learned specialized knowledge from translation memories about that specialty. This “customized” MT is configured services serve translators in that specialty, but quality degrades significantly outside the specialty.
Artificial intelligence technology is the soul of modern machine translation. It uses the knowledge preserved in a model to translate new works. Therefore, any knowledge missing from the model causes senseless and unusable translations.
Complex, Expensive, Expert-driven Technology
New technology are almost always expensive and complicated, making them accessible to only a few people with money and skills. Early computing technology, for example, was only available as mainframes making it inaccessible to most people. In those days, if you wanted to use computing technology, you had to take your problem to the mainframe where the experts used the technology for us. Innovations over the years, from mainframe to mini to desktop to notebook and now to mobile phone, democratized computing technology so now everyone has access to it.
Today, we’re facing the same challenge. Early machine translation systems are only available as online services, making the underlying technology inaccessible to most translators. If you want to use machine translation, you must take your work to the online service where experts use the technology for us.
Slate Rocks is at the forefront of the natural transition to democratize machine translation technology. With Slate™ Desktop, the machine learning, artificial intelligence and machine translation technologies are more affordable and simpler to that a much larger population have access to it.
Breakthroughs In Complexity and Cost
In the early 1970’s, computer graphics were complicated. GE Genigraphics, a graphics service bureau, earned $25 million annually making overhead slides for the Fortune 500. Today, top executives use PowerPoint in airports and almost no one has heard of overhead slides or Genigraphics.
You may have heard that statistical machine translation (SMT) technology is complicated. Well, it was in 2008, but technology improves. Technologies that were complicated become simple. Slate™ Desktop simplifies SMT technology so everyone can get the optimal benefits from machine translation applications.
Slate™ Desktop is a breakthrough in complexity. Point & click is simple and easy to use. Without specialized technical skills, you build custom engines using your own translation memories on the Windows PC that runs your computer-assisted translation tool.
Slate™ Desktop is a breakthrough in cost. You buy a one-time fixed fee license, no usage fees, no subscriptions. Translators and teams use your own subject expertise to select the translation memories to build custom engines without the cost of hiring experts.
These breakthroughs open opportunities for all translation projects to benefit from simple and inexpensive custom engines. Projects of any size and in any price range have access to better quality from custom engines.
Slate™ Desktop applications use statistical machine translation (SMT) technologies with rule-based pre- and post-processing. Together, the rules-based and statistical technologies give users a hybrid machine translation technology experience.
Slate™ Desktop applications blend open source and proprietary licensed components to create user-friendly applications. The open source components include MGIZA++, Moses, GNU utilities, Perl runtime and Python runtime. The proprietary components are written in the Python language and distributed as editable source code under an end-user license agreement (EULA).
Slate™ Desktop applications are cross-platform. That is, they run on Windows, Linux and MacOS (coming soon). They include menu-driven features to convert translation memories into statistical machine translation engines on all supported operating systems. They also include options to copy engines from one operating system to another. Engines created on one operating system can be copied to and run on other operating systems under the EULA terms.
Once created, the engines automatically become MT providers available through popular computer-assisted translation tools. The translator receives the engine’s suggestions just like other MT providers. They accept the suggestion, post-edit or reject /create their own translation. The objective is to be more productive than translating without the technology assistance.
In 2015, we released Slate™ Toolkit, the world’s first complete collection of 64-bit Windows compatible phrase-based statistical machine translation utilities. To my knowledge, it remains the only full-stack toolkit for Windows.
In 2016, we released Slate™ Desktop as the world’s first point-n-click business productivity application for professional translators that pairs the world’s most popular business productivity operating system, MS Windows, with advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies.
Powered by your translation memories, Slate™ Desktop applications present MT suggestions assisting you in Trados Studio, memoQ, CafeTran, OmegaT, other computer-assisted translation (CAT) tool. They are available as prepackaged desktop applications from our website’s eStore. You buy, install, learn and use Slate™ Desktop without required maintenance contracts or specialized training.
About Tom Hoar
I’m the founder and managing partner at Slate Rocks LLC. I’ve worked in speech & language technology all life, mostly as a project manager. In early 2008, I was a firm believer that machine translation technology would never work. My world turned up-side-down when I saw statistical machine translation in action. I abandoned speech technology career, shifted to machine translation and never looked back.
I was living in Thailand when I created the first company, Precision Translation Tools and later moved it to Singapore. In 2017, I founded Slate Rocks LLC with Del Winn, an attorney and 20-year colleague. Currently, I divide my time between Thailand, Florida and conferences somewhere in the world. You can learn about my background and experience in Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tahoar/
About Del Winn
Del is the co-founder of Slate Rocks LLC and lives in Georgia, USA. He is an attorney with significant international business expertise in finance, banking, real estate and intellectual property. Del is responsible for all legal and intellectual property relating Slate Rocks LLC.