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Office Record


Date Received:
Received by whom:

Student name:
Student number:
Received by:

Draft Project Proposal Form

Student Name:

Khalid Harun Abdilahi

Student No:


Email Address:

Program Name:

Software Engineering

Title of project:

iORDER Automated Food Order Translating System using

Machine Translation Approach

Please record which modules your topic is related to:

Advanced Database Systems


Other Areas

Machine Translation

Machine Learning

Computational Linguistics

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This is the draft proposal of your FYP which needs to be submitted to the project administrator by
hardcopy refer to your timeline for submission deadline.

1. Introduction
The use of modern technology touches every aspect of our lives from travel to
education; healthcare; entertainment; business and a lot more. However, it is the food
and restaurant industry that has seen little impact of this modern technology. Most of
the restaurants are still using manual processes to take orders from customers while
automated menus have proven efficient in saving time and money for restaurants. Quite
recently people are experiencing multicultural restaurants with coworkers and
customers of different cultural backgrounds and origins and one of the challenges posed
by this multiculturalism is communication barrier among diverse customers and

multicultural coworkers. This communication barrier brought a set of unique problems

such as inefficiency in terms of service and a weak internal communication between
chefs and waiters of different backgrounds. Likewise, customers are facing quite
similar challenges in multicultural restaurants. However, the use of modern technology
can alleviate some of the challenges posed by this communication barrier in the food
and restaurant industry.
In this brief research proposal the researcher will propose a relatively new computer
based system which is meant to bridge the communication barrier in multicultural
workplaces particularly in the food and restaurant industry. iORDER is an Automated
Food Order Translating System which is intended to bridge the language gap between
diverse customers, local and international co-workers in multicultural restaurants. The
system basically functions as a food order interpreter where customers put orders in
their own language and chefs receive food orders in their native language. Likewise,
the system helps multicultural co-workers i.e. Local chefs and international waiters
who are having communication difficulty in their day to day interaction.
2. Problem Statement
In recent years it is not uncommon to see multicultural restaurants with
diverse employees of different backgrounds serving for customers of different
cultural backgrounds. Although having multicultural employees comes with a lot
of benefits such as attracting many different customers, it poses a unique set of
problems that can hinder the efficiency and smooth functioning of this
multicultural restaurants. The greatest and the most unavoidable problem
brought by this multiculturalism is a communication barrier among these
different coworkers and their diverse customers (Mahmud, Alam, Hartel, 2014).
Consequently, this communication barrier brings a chain of different problems
such as slowing down the process of preparing and serving food to customers,
placement of wrong orders and it weakens the internal cooperation of different
co-workers in these restaurants and their customers (Dang, 2012).
Lindqvist (2012) provides an in-depth analysis of the possible factors that
contribute to the emergence of communication barrier at multicultural
workplaces. The author argues that cultural origins, forms of interaction among
workers and working conditions to be the basis of communication barrier in

multicultural workplaces. Similarly, according to Ablonczy-Mih alyka (2008)

coworkers of different cultural backgrounds need language competency and
intercultural skills for a better communication and for the benefit of their
organization in achieving its goals. This means that an effective communication
among coworkers and their customers is the basis of achieving the organizations
business goals. While these two studies acknowledge that there is a
communication barrier in multicultural workplaces, they both failed to the
address the possible problems posed by this communication barrier if no
mitigation measures are not taken by organizations.
As pointed out by Kim & Matilla (2011) the language gap among different
coworkers and customers causes miscommunication and the difficulties in
delivering accurate information on the menu items ordered by customers. This
will in turn affect the performance of the restaurant in terms of service and may
cause restaurants to lose customers due to their poor service. In a similar context
Madera, Dawson, Neal, Busch (2011) argue that language difficulties create
communication barrier among local and immigrant coworkers in restaurants and
these barriers have negative effects on job performance and organization
The proposed research is to investigate the possibility of using machine
translation that is efficient, fast and simple to implement. In particular the aim of
this research is to build a more robust food order translating application that can
significantly reduce the language gap among restaurant coworkers with different
backgrounds and their customers. According to Madera et al (2011) the use of
different forms of communication such as visual aids in food preparation
improved the performance of chefs in terms of speed, quality and accuracy. This
proves that the use of other forms of communication other than natural language
can have a significant positive impact on the job performance of coworkers of
different cultural backgrounds.
The proposed food order translating application uses phrase-based machine
translation algorithm which is known to produce more natural translation
compared to other translating algorithms such as rule-based translation
(Abraham, 2014). This phrase-based algorithms is designed to directly translate

words and phrases from the source language to the target language without the
use intermediate resources in the translation process. This direct translation
method is simple to implement and requires less computational resource as there
is limited analysis of the syntactic structure of the phrase and words to be
translated (Tripathi & Sarkhel, 2010). The algorithms is to be implemented in
Java for higher performance compared to the other programming languages. It
also allows trivial code portability in different platforms (Cer & Galley, 2010).
3. Project Aims and Objectives
3.1. Aims
The research proposal has several aims; its main aim is to build a
natural language machine translation application that can be used to translate
food orders received from customers into the native language of the chefs
who are working in the restaurant. Similarly, this research proposal aims to
automate the current food order taking process
3.2. Objectives

To design and develop an efficient machine translation algorithm which

runs on a local server in the restaurants kitchen.

To translate food orders from the source language which is the native
language of the customer to a specific target language which is the native
language of the chefs

Send a printed order to the chefs in the kitchen.

To develop automated menu and capture orders from customers using


4. Deliverables
iORDER is a kind of point of sale application which enables customers to order
food using their native language. It also enables chefs to receive orders in their
native language. Similarly, in case of waiters taking orders from customers,
iORDER enables waiters to record orders using their native language and
translates orders into the native language of chefs in the kitchen. The following
are some of the basic functions of iORDER:
Self-service application that allows customers to put on their orders in
their native language.
Allows waiters to record orders from customers using their native
Translates orders to a specific target language i.e. the native language of
Sends orders to chefs
Prints translated orders
Calculates total bills
Generates receipt for customers