Translating the World’s Languages

Penn Engineering
Mar 6, 2019 · 5 min read
Chris Callison-Burch, right, works at the intersection of linguistics and artificial intelligence.

By Jessica Stein Diamond

Chris Callison-Burch first wondered how computers could be used to translate languages as a high school freshman while tinkering with his first computer and reading science fiction. Classics such as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy featured creative linguistic plot devices like “Babel fish,” which when stuffed in an ear allowed instant comprehension of any language.