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Off topic: Online translator sparks diplomatic row
Thread poster: Nicholas Ferreira

Nicholas Ferreira  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 04:46
Spanish to English
+ ...
Nov 9, 2007

http://www.itnews.com.au/News/64729,online-translator-sparks-diplomatic-row.aspx
An email sent to the Dutch foreign ministry by a group of Israeli journalists has sparked a diplomatic row, thanks to an unreliable translation by Babelfish.

Machine translation strikes again! If only they would learn once and for all that machine translation is good for nothing!


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Marlene Curtis  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:46
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Machine translation Nov 9, 2007

It only makes you laugh...or sparks a lot of trouble...

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JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 04:46
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Can't access story Nov 9, 2007

I tried the link several times but could not get the page. Could someone please check it and either provide a new link or cut & paste the story? I'd love to read this!
Jane


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Nicholas Ferreira  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 04:46
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Link glitch Nov 9, 2007

JaneTranslates wrote:

I tried the link several times but could not get the page. Could someone please check it and either provide a new link or cut & paste the story? I'd love to read this!
Jane


Jane,

Copy the whole line into the address bar of the browser:
http://www.itnews.com.au/News/64729,online-translator-sparks-diplomatic-row.aspx

For some reason the link seems to stop after the comma, but in fact the address ends with ".aspx"


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:46
Spanish to English
+ ...
Metatranslation Nov 9, 2007

And of course what we're reading is an English translation of the bad Hebrew translation... Layers upon layers of translation.

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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:46
Swedish to English
+ ...
Disclaimer Nov 9, 2007

If I were to develop one of these MT tools, I'd add a very visible legal disclaimer.

Imaging this newspaper suing the developer of this MT tool.


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Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 03:46
Partial member
Spanish
+ ...
Another link Nov 10, 2007

From Common Sense:




Israeli Journalists Produce New Anecdote for Machine Translation

Renato S. Beninatto 9 November 2007

It could be the start of a bad joke: “Do you know the one about the Jewish journalist who used free online MT to translate an e-mail to a Dutch diplomat and almost caused an international incident?”
 
Stories of bad translations done by computers abound, but seldom do they make the news like the recent embarrassing situation caused by a delegation of Israeli journalists who were going to Amsterdam next week for an educational seminar on the Dutch political system.
 
Thus began the machine-translated message : “Helloh bud, Enclosed five of the questions in honor of the foreign minister: The mother your visit in Israel is a sleep to the favor or to the bed your mind on the conflict are Israeli Palestinian, and on relational Israel Holland.” The journalists also inquired “What in your opinion needs to do opposite the awful the Iranian of Israel?” Apparently the translation tool used confused ha’im, the Hebrew word for if, with ha’ima, which means mother.
 
The Jerusalem Post claims that the journalists used the popular translation engine Babelfish, but this appears to be incorrect. Babelfish (which uses Systran’s rules-based translation engine) doesn’t handle Hebrew. One source indicates that they may have used Babylon.
 
Even though the press hailed this story as a diplomatic incident, ...


[more]

[Edited at 2007-11-10 00:04]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 10:46
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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Say no to intellectual property theft Nov 10, 2007

JaneTranslates wrote:
Could someone please ... cut & paste the story?


I can't believe a professional translator would post such a request.


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JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 04:46
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
OK, point taken. Nov 10, 2007

Samuel Murray wrote:

JaneTranslates wrote:
Could someone please ... cut & paste the story?


I can't believe a professional translator would post such a request.


Is it still intellectual property theft if you credit the source? When I translate academic texts, I see that authors sometimes quote several paragraphs, but always credit the source.

I didn't think about the length of the story; I suppose that makes a difference. But I was not intentionally promoting theft or plagiarism. Doesn't the context here make it clear that the material is not original? This is an honest question, not an argument; I have not yet had much occasion to deal professionally with online sources.

Later: Also, please note the part that Samuel omitted when quoting me: my request was, first of all, for a working link, and the necessary information has been provided (thank you, Nicholas!). Thanks to Claudia, too, I have now successfully visited two websites and have been able to enjoy the story in its original context.

[Edited at 2007-11-10 17:30]

[Edited at 2007-11-10 17:31]


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Suzette Martin-Johnson
Canada
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
Not intellectual property theft once you cite the source. Nov 11, 2007

In fact, you are flattering the author and giving him/ her free publicity.

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Nicholas Ferreira  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 04:46
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Also violation of forum rules Nov 11, 2007

islander1974 wrote:

In fact, you are flattering the author and giving him/ her free publicity.


This may be true, but FYI such an action would also be a violation of Forum rule #9:
"...Only excerpts and links to articles may be printed, unless permission has been obtained from the publishers. In such cases, the posting must make clear that such permission has been obtained."


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Cuiviewen  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:46
English to Spanish
+ ...
Unbelievable! Nov 13, 2007

It´s amazing how that hilarious piece of machine translation has caused problems TWICE! Both in the real and in the virtual world... Do not share the piece with your significant others, I think it´s jinxed!

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Gita Madhu
Local time: 16:46
French to English
Happens to the best of us Nov 16, 2007

JaneTranslates wrote:

I tried the link several times but could not get the page. Could someone please check it and either provide a new link or cut & paste the story? I'd love to read this!
Jane

Don't click on it. Copy and paste the whole link.
We have grown so used to clicking on links that we sometimes fail to notice that a part of the address is not included.


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Online translator sparks diplomatic row

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