Historical Background

Troyanskii suggested a concept of machine translator that was able to look up words in a bilingual dictionary. He also outlined the principles of an interlingual system. This system was expected to parse and analyse a text and to save it in a language, called interlingua, similar to the human language Esperanto. The next step was a synthesis, and afterwards the text was converted into the target language again. This had been Troyanskii's proposal for a solution before the computer was invented. Because his ideas were unreachable and unrealistic in those days, Troyanskii has been remaining unknown for the next 20 years, although even today his ideas are relevant for many translation systems which are based on the so-called interlingua method.
World War II, America was prepared to support linguistic research. Some of the army's researchers, who had assisted in developing code-breaking systems to decrypt secret messages during the war, were cooperating with linguists and scientists like Warren Weaver. Such expert teams were able to accumulate knowledge of both languages and machines. The best known collection of information on this topic is the "Weaver Memorandum" (1949). This document can be seen as the starting point of machine translation research.  The first success in translating showed the public demo of a machine translation. There, a machine was working on 52 Russian sentences using six grammar rules and a memory of about 250 words. The sentences were simple and short like They prepared TNT.Though, the Georgetown University students were proud of the output in 1954 and were able to convince a lot of companies to support and invest in machine translation research.