Communication in global software development is hindered by language differences in countries with a lack of English speaking professionals. Machine translation is a technology that uses software to translate from one natural language to another. The progress of machine translation systems has been steady in the last decade. As for now, machine translation technology is particularly appealing because it might be used, in the form of cross-language chat services, in countries that are entering into global software projects. However, despite the recent progress of the technology, we still lack a thorough understanding of how real-time machine translation affects communication. In this paper, we present a set of empirical studies with the goal of assessing to what extent real-time machine translation can be used in distributed, multilingual requirements meetings instead of English. Results suggest that, despite far from 100% accurate, real-time machine translation is not disruptive of the conversation flow and, therefore, is accepted with favor by participants. However, stronger effects can be expected to emerge when language barriers are more critical. Our findings add to the evidence about the recent advances of machine translation technology and provide some guidance to global software engineering practitioners in regarding the losses and gains of using English as a lingua franca in multilingual group communication, as in the case of computer-mediated requirements meetings.

Assessing the Impact of Real-Time Machine Translation on Multilingual Meetings in Global Software Projects

CALEFATO, FABIO;LANUBILE, Filippo;
2016

Abstract

Communication in global software development is hindered by language differences in countries with a lack of English speaking professionals. Machine translation is a technology that uses software to translate from one natural language to another. The progress of machine translation systems has been steady in the last decade. As for now, machine translation technology is particularly appealing because it might be used, in the form of cross-language chat services, in countries that are entering into global software projects. However, despite the recent progress of the technology, we still lack a thorough understanding of how real-time machine translation affects communication. In this paper, we present a set of empirical studies with the goal of assessing to what extent real-time machine translation can be used in distributed, multilingual requirements meetings instead of English. Results suggest that, despite far from 100% accurate, real-time machine translation is not disruptive of the conversation flow and, therefore, is accepted with favor by participants. However, stronger effects can be expected to emerge when language barriers are more critical. Our findings add to the evidence about the recent advances of machine translation technology and provide some guidance to global software engineering practitioners in regarding the losses and gains of using English as a lingua franca in multilingual group communication, as in the case of computer-mediated requirements meetings.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11586/139528
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