【Electrotechnical Laboratory】 "Yamato" Machine Translation System

The "Yamato" machine translation system was developed in 1959 at the Electrotechnical Laboratory.

Starting in the summer of 1958, under the direction of Wada Hiroshi (Director of the Electronics Division at that time), a plan was formulated to prototype the "Yamato" English-Japanese machine translation system using the basic logic circuits of the ETL Mark IV transistor-based electronic computer. Since no electronic computer was available with a large enough memory capacity to enable storage of a dictionary for translation, a dedicated machine was fabricated with a budget of ¥6 million. The main unit contained about 1,000 basic circuit plug-ins in 3 types, and the system used an 820,000 bit high-capacity magnetic drum as its memory unit. Fabrication of the equipment was finished in November 1958, and in February 1959, it had reached the point where it would output "ワレガ オンガクヲ コノム" to the printer when paper tape punched with "I like music" was input. The results of this research were announced at the first International Conference on Information Processing held in Paris in June 1959.