SEOUL, Jul. 19 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s leading online search company Naver announced that as of today, it will lift the 200-character limit put in place for “Papago”, its artificial intelligence powered translation service.
By doing so, Naver has decided to challenge Google head on for supremacy in the Korean translation market. As the two sides eventually settle into a digital turf war, experts predict the competition between the two tech giants will thrust digital translation tech firmly into mainstream consciousness.
The version of the Papago app running on Android and iOS operating systems was given a software update this morning. The update enables the length of text to exceed 200 characters and has capped the limit at 5,000 characters. There will also be a version of the service for released for PCs.
The upper limit of 5,000 characters is significant as it makes Papago comparable to Google Translate at least in the total number of characters that can be translated in one go.
The new service is expected to be a cut above previous iterations of various translation technologies that were based on statistical machine translation paradigms (SMT). Using this model, translations of text input were generated based on an analysis of an extensive and structured database of texts.
Instead, Papago will use neural machine translation paradigms (NMT), structures that use neural networks instead of relying on text databases. NMT technology is currently used by both Google and Microsoft for their translation services.
Released last August, Papago’s limit of 200 characters was not inviolable, but if the entered text exceeded the limit, the service would automatically transition to SMT instead of AI-based translation. It is believed that this was the case due to AI translation models requiring more computing power than other options.
A spokesperson for Naver was asked to comment on the changes to Papago. He said that by the end of the year, Vietnamese, Indonesian, and Thai will be added to the six languages currently offered by the service.
Besides Naver and Google, Microsoft, Systran, Flitto and Hancom (GenieTalk) have various translation services on offer. The online translation market is slowly but surely beginning to feel cramped.