Time Span: 1985 - 1992
Instituut voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek in de Nijverheid en de Landbouw
Siemens, Siemens-Nixdorf
Coordinators in Leuven: M. Debrock & G. Adriaens

METAL is Siemens-Nixdorf's system for human-aided machine translation. In the period between 1985 and 1992, a mixed academic and industrial team of on average 5 people (mainly university researchers) has worked on three language pairs of the METAL system: Dutch-French, French-Dutch and French-English. The Leuven researchers have developed extensive computational grammars and lexicons for the languages mentioned. They have also extended the functionality of the kernel METAL software (Lisp and C), adding a language-independent module for role assignment (see R. Gebruers' Ph. D thesis) to the system as well as a module for scoring preferred tree structures. It goes without saying that the METAL project has been a good opportunity to acquire a lot of practical know-how in the construction of complex NLP products. Currently the project is still being worked on in Belgium (at the Siemens-Nixdorf Center for Software in Liège, partly in collaboration with universities) and in several other countries (Germany, Spain, Texas USA, Denmark). The products that result from the developments are marketed by Siemens-Nixdorf (the Belgian branch for Dutch-French and French-Dutch) and Sietec (the German branch for French-English). Other language pairs currently available include German-English, German-Spanish, and English-German. German-French, Russian-German, English-Spanish, and German-Danish are in an advanced development stage.