Introducing enGráy: Your English-Waray Translator

Finally, there's this machine translator called enGráy (short for English-Waráy) that translates Waray sentences to English and vice-versa. I was able to try it and I was happy with what I discovered: enGráy works like Google Translate. The good thing about enGráy is that it is specific to the Waray language --  something that Google Translate cannot do at present.

This machine translator was developed by Maureen Lyndel C. Lauron, a 19-year old Waray speaker from Brgy. Pagsulhugon, Babatngon, Leyte. Maureen graduated Cum Laude at Visayas State University, Baybay City, Leyte, Philippines where she finished BS in Computer Science.

Maureen started working on the translator in July, 2012. This was part of her thesis titled, "Development of a Bi-directional Waray-Waray to English Statistical Machine Translator."  Since it is bi-directional, enGráy has the capacity to translate sentences from Waray to English and from English to Waray.

That's Maureen, the person behind enGráy.

Maureen said that there are two ways of developing a translator -- rule-based method and statistical approach. She used the latter because according to her, "the statistical approach is more effective, it costs less, and it requires less time." She added that it is the method preferred by many programmers. Google Translate, according to her, uses this approach.

As of this writing, enGráy has about 32,000 sentences. She gives credit to the following who helped her shape the machine: Prof. Winston M. Tabada, Head of the Department of Science and Technology; Mr. Dante Peque Jr., thesis adviser; Mark Fullmer, professor and web developer; her family and friends who served as her translators and encoders; Mr. Neil Jhon Ramal who helped her with the visual design of the machine; the Moses translation tool kit; and the e-Sword Waray Bible.

Part of Maureen's plan is to make enGráy multi-directional. By doing so, it will have the capacity of translating a Waray text to Sebuhano, to Hiligaynon, or to Bicolano, and so on.  She also wants to share it to the public by making it web-based.  It may take a little while before we can access it on the internet. She is fresh from the university; hence, she has lots of things to do at the moment.

I will announce it here once her website is up and running. In the meantime, let's be thankful that there's this young lady who has the heart and the passion to excel in her chosen field.

(Thanks Mau for sharing your story.)

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