"Me Translate Pretty One Day" Wired article on cracking the machine translation code
Thread poster: TRANZsmart
TRANZsmart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:58
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jan 9, 2007

For those of you that are interested (and also fear for your jobs!) 'Wired' Magazine (New York) recently published an article on the advances of Machine Translation and a new system that could potentially cut our work hours in half... good for the outsourcers budget, but bad news for us as translators.

The article talks about a New York firm that has come closer to cracking the code than any other MT solution. Here's the link;

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.12/translate.html


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Brandon Wood  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 17:58
Japanese to English
+ ...
Meh... Jan 9, 2007

I would take this with a grain of salt... The article offers about two sentences as a basis of what this software can do. Not to mention that the two sentences are fairly straightforward and are for one of the most (relatively) simple language pairs for a computer to translate: Spanish->English.

I am personally not worried about computers taking over my job as I am a translator of creative content: games, movies, comics, etc. No matter how good a computer may get at translating, it will never, ever have the human emotion of a human translation. The only way it can get close is as the article states: "copying" real translators' work. But this is nowhere close to original and does not qualify to me as a "real" translation.

Don't worry everyone, I think our jobs are safe.


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TRANZsmart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:58
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
re: Jan 9, 2007

Hi Brandon,

I understand that we've no need to run for the hills yet under the threat of MT.

Obviously machines are going to come in a second best to us but just thought that it was an interesting article for the way that the 'techy' people are trying to combat the language problem.

all the best

Henry


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Can Altinbay  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:58
Japanese to English
+ ...
Can a machine be a "native speaker"? Jan 9, 2007

Maybe they are closer to getting computers to "learn" style, so that their translations are "pretty". There is a cultural component to translation that I don't believe can be easily taught to a computer. Wouldn't this more likely cut into the work of translators who accept low paying jobs and produce the kind of work I too often get to "edit" (retranslate)?

P. S. Flames concerning "native speaker" - please direct to the existing other thread.


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Blerta Alikaj  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:58
Member (2006)
English to Albanian
+ ...
machines and translation Jan 9, 2007

the article was very interesting, if only because this idea has been sloshing in people's minds for quite a while. i think it will particularly be a bonus for those companies and people who are looking for the cheap way out and whose business does not need professional services anyway.
i also think that there will always be a need for human translators to supervise and proofread. after all, humans alwasy adapt faster than machines.


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 11:58
Turkish to English
+ ...
Threat or opportunity? Jan 10, 2007

The good news is that this system will only work if it is fed with a constant diet of high-quality human translations to keep the data base up to date. Perhaps we are indispensable after all.

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Brandon Wood  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 17:58
Japanese to English
+ ...
re: Jan 10, 2007

Henry,

I know you weren't trying to stir things up, I was just posting what I thought about the article in relation to my job security.

It IS a very interesting article though, especially for me who has studied computer science for a very long time. One of my first attempts at a program was an AI chat program in Q-BASIC when I was 10 years old... of course I failed, but I always had an interest in AI.

I think that for as long as computers exist (who knows what might replace them) there will be people attempting to create some type of AI. I do applaud these scientists though, they are pushing the limits of technology and even challenging human translators like us to improve and refine our skills even further.


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"Me Translate Pretty One Day" Wired article on cracking the machine translation code

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