Bergamot – Browser-based Multilingual Translation
The Bergamot project is developing state-of-the-art machine translation that runs in Mozilla Firefox, preserving user privacy. Users can translate web pages into their own language and create text in languages they do not speak, such as filling out foreign forms. Running on the user’s desktop in the Firefox web browser ensures broad dissemination and easy installation for companies and governments working with confidential documents and respects people’s needs for security and privacy.
While some web browsers already offer “built-in” translation of web pages, these capabilities typically rely on cloud-based translation services and thus require that the web page’s content be transmitted to a third party for translation, with negative implications for privacy and data protection. In contrast, Bergamot’s machine translation engine will run locally on the user’s machine, ensuring that no data leaves the user’s computer for the purpose of translation.
Towards a trustworthy Next Generation Internet, Bergamot’s translation feature can estimate its own accuracy and indicate where it “isn’t sure” about the translation, warning the user that the translation may not be accurate in those circumstances. Current systems on the market do not warn users about potential inaccuracies, so users can be misled by fluent translations that skip important content.
Finally, Bergamot will also support users in filling out forms in language they do not speak. Recognizing the importance of correctly answering these forms, the system will flag translations it is less confident about. The user can then rephrase text in their language and the system will use both versions to arrive at a better translation. Forms on the web often contain sensitive information, so the entire system runs locally on the user’s desktop.
By providing translation services under the control of the user, Bergamot reverses the trend of concentration of market positions from devices to networks. Bergamot will improve access and exchange of information across language barriers and with good data and privacy protection, and without reliance on and exposure to cloud-based third-party translation service providers. Running translation locally also protects users against loss of service should translation service providers decide to discontinue services, for example on a less-used language. All of the Bergamot project’s outputs will be open source, open access, and freely distributable.