Apertium is a software tool for translating one language into a closely-related other through the use of a computer program rather than human interpretation. Apertium uses a language-independent translation work flow, has tools to manage the linguistic data surrounding the two languages (a "language pair") and already contains linguistic data for many language pairs which are encoded in an XML-based format.
Apertium is used mainly for translating closely-related language pairs. Originally produced as part of the OpenTran project funded by the Spanish government, Apertium's strength is its strong translation support for languages closely related to Spanish. For example, Spanish-Portuguese or Spanish-Catalan. Its focus on other languages has been limited due to its history. However, because it is open source and has such a strong community, users have been able to push Apertium into more dissimilar language pairs with the hope that the platform will be able to go much further than languages similar to Spanish.
With Apertium, users are able to create machine translation systems for different languages by cataloging the linguistic data in a specific XML format that Apertium can then interpret. That interpretation is through a process somewhat like an assembly line with each piece of language going through the following steps:
There are many resources for the Apertium platform that can help out the new user:
Apertium is Free Software licensed under the GPL.