New York, January 7….. Russian was translated into English by an electronic “brain” today for the first time.
Brief statements about politics, law, mathematics, chemistry, metallurgy, communications, and military affairs were submitted in Russian by linguists of the Georgetown University Institute of Languages and Linguistics to the famous 701 computer of the International Business Machines Corporation. And the giant computer, within a few seconds, turned the sentences into easily readable English.
A girl who didn’t understand a word of the language of the Soviets punched out the Russian messages on IBM cards. The “brain” dashed off its English translations on an automatic printer at the breakneck speed of two and a half lines per second.
“Mi pyeryedayem mislyi posryedstvom ryechyi,” the girl punched. And the 701 responded: “We transmit thoughts by means of speech.”
“Vyelyichyina ugla opryedyelyayetsya otnoshyenyiyem dlyini dugi k radyiusu,” the punch rattled. The “brain” came back: “Magnitude of angle is determined by the relation of length of arc to radius.”
“Myezhdunarodnoye ponyimanyiye yavlyayetsya vazhnim faktorom v ryeshyenyiyi polyityichyeskix voprosov,” the girl tapped out. And the computer translated: “International understanding constitutes an important factor in decision of political questions.”
More than sixty Russian sentences were given to the “brain” altogether. All were translated smoothly in a demonstration performed jointly by Georgetown and IBM as a phase of IBM’s endowed research in computation.