RESEARCH: Electronic Translator

Seated at an International Business Machines Corp. electronic computer last week, a girl who understands not a word of Russian punched out the message: Mi pyeryedayem mislyi posryedstvom ryech-yi. In a few seconds the mechanical "brain" spewed out a translation from Russian to English: "We transmit thoughts by means of speech."

It was a big step for a computer to venture from the relatively precise fields of mathematics and physics into the more nebulous realm of language translation. But the IBM scientists and Georgetown University linguists who had helped set up the experiment thought it was an auspicious start. With...

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