Not lost in translation

The dream machine in action (Photo: China Post)

In China, addresses for incoming mail used to be manually translated into Mandarin Chinese in each office of exchange, slowing down mail processing and delivery. Faced with an increase in incoming mail volumes, China Post was looking for a way to optimize operations.

A grant of more than 3 million USD from the QSF helped to fund the development of an automatic translation system to ensure that international mail reached recipients.

The grant also financed the purchase of 22 automated and 55 semi-automated translation machines for Mandarin Chinese, as well as other necessary equipment. These included computers, servers, coding printers, long-distance terminals and scanners.

The translation machines have been installed in 39 offices of exchange and can process 2,500 letters an hour, while the semi-automatic machines can process 1,000. At present, translations are 91-per-cent accurate.