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Please comment on Machine Translation
Thread poster: Hardy Moreno

Hardy Moreno  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:13
English to Spanish
+ ...
Dec 15, 2003

The reason why I would like for you to give your comments on machine translation is because the local school district "discovered" Google.com and were wondering about translating an entire website with Google.com.

I've been translating for the local school district for about 7 years. I don't want to give them only my opinions on the matter but that of other professionals in the field.

Please give your thoughts on Machine Translation.


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Will Matter  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:13
English
+ ...
OK for basic stuff Dec 15, 2003

Machine translation is OK for basic stuff, single terms, simple phrases and things like that but is unacceptable for longer or more complex material and cannot do the job as well as a skilled human translator can. Usually, a poor translator can do it as well, or better than, the best machine translation. For quality, speed and exactness it's best to use a human translator.

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xxxIanW
Local time: 02:13
German to English
+ ...
Translate a few pages into your own native language Dec 15, 2003

Translate a few pages into your own native language and you will see for yourself that it is utter nonsense.

And asking professional translators what they think of machine translation is like asking a house-painter if it would be better to hire him or to toss buckets of paint at random.

And no translator worth his/her salt will agree to clean up the mess made by a machine translation.


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Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 19:13
Spanish to English
Get them to test it. Dec 15, 2003

I would suggest to them that they take several texts in another language and translate them into their own language and then see if they are satisfactory. If they are, then we had better all go and retrain. Very occasionally a machine translation does work, but that is just serindipity.

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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 19:13
Spanish to English
+ ...
A well-chosen example Dec 15, 2003

Lesley Clarke wrote:
I would suggest to them that they take several texts in another language and translate them into their own language and then see if they are satisfactory. If they are, then we had better all go and retrain. Very occasionally a machine translation does work, but that is just serindipity.


I can do no better than to echo Lesley's suggestion. Even better, supply some well-chosen texts yourself. I'm sure you have---or can lay your hands on---some Spanish texts, for instance, that are samples of elegant discourse in Spanish, but turn into pretentious gobbledygook when literally translated into English.


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xxxtazdog
Spain
Local time: 02:13
Spanish to English
+ ...
one of my favorite examples... Dec 15, 2003

...of why machine translations can sometimes be hilarious, mostly because the wrong word is chosen for a specific context.

"The childbirths were old towns escitas that in the century III before J.C. they organized an empire that was depressed after long fights for the Roman emperor Trajano. They were good horsemen and specially dangerous when, faking to escape, they shot for on the shoulder arrows to the enemy that pursued them. For the retired it was worse than the attack. The childbirths used pants of diverse wide, and sayos opened up in all their longitude starting from the waist or with a cut in the chest and a band around the neck."

http://www.modahistoria.com/ingles/18e.htm

The "childbirths" here are "partos"--a possible translation of this word, but not in this case (should be "Parthians").

I am sure that a school district in particular wouldn't want to present this type of image to the world.


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:13
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Ow! Dec 16, 2003

Cindy Chadd wrote:

"The childbirths were old towns escitas that in the century III before J.C. they organized an empire that was depressed after long fights for the Roman emperor Trajano. They were good horsemen and specially dangerous when, faking to escape, they shot for on the shoulder arrows to the enemy that pursued them. For the retired it was worse than the attack. The childbirths used pants of diverse wide, and sayos opened up in all their longitude starting from the waist or with a cut in the chest and a band around the neck."

http://www.modahistoria.com/ingles/18e.htm

The "childbirths" here are "partos"--a possible translation of this word, but not in this case (should be "Parthians").


I wrote a paper about the escitas in Russia... (Scythians)


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AngieD  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:13
English
+ ...
Another good test Dec 16, 2003

Get them to translate an English page into Spanish and then back again (or whatever the language combination is they need). That should put anyone off!

Angie


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Romuald Pawlikowski  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:13
Member (2004)
English to Polish
+ ...
MT back translation -- a good test Dec 16, 2003

Angie Dickinson wrote:

Get them to translate an English page into Spanish and then back again (or whatever the language combination is they need). That should put anyone off!

Angie


I completely agree with Angie.

Though one should be also fair to MT. It works in VERY NARROW fields after long period of terminology build-up etc. and with some pre- and post-editing.

I seriously doubt, however, if Google tools are up to such a task.


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Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:13
Member (2011)
Multiplelanguages
+ ...
comments on machine translation Oct 9, 2004

Hardy Moreno wrote:
The reason why I would like for you to give your comments on machine translation is because the local school district "discovered" Google.com and were wondering about translating an entire website with Google.com.
Please give your thoughts on Machine Translation.


15 years of experience in the language industry of which 10 years in the area of Machine Translation and Translation Memory product development, testing, implementation, user training, and software reviews is available in a list of articles and discussion threads (organized thematically) at:
http://www.geocities.com/jeffallenpubs

I use several MT systems on a daily basis, and give conferences and tutorials on how to use it effectively.

Jeff Allen
http://www.geocities.com/mtpostediting/



[Edited at 2004-10-12 12:35]

[Edited at 2004-12-29 13:27]


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Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:13
Member (2011)
Multiplelanguages
+ ...
using the MT backtranslation strategy Dec 25, 2004

Angie Dickinson wrote:
Get them to translate an English page into Spanish and then back again...That should put anyone off!


Romuald Pawlikowski wrote:
I completely agree with Angie.
Though one should be also fair to MT. It works in VERY NARROW fields after long period of terminology build-up etc. and with some pre- and post-editing.
I seriously doubt, however, if Google tools are up to such a task.


Pre-editing is no longer a requirement (although it does certainly improve the quality), and post-editing can now be reduced to a minimal amount. The terminology build-up timeframe is also quite reasonable with a good professional or expert version of commercial MT software.

See:
http://www.geocities.com/mtpostediting/Jeff-Allen-AMTA2004-paper_v1.01.pdf
MT User case study in the Telecom field: pre-sales and post-sales documentation. In proceedings of the 6th conference of the Assocation for MT in the Americas, 28 Sept - 2 Oct 2004, Washington, DC, USA.

&

http://www.geocities.com/mtpostediting/lorena-guerra-masters.pdf
GUERRA, Lorena. 2003. Human Translation versus Machine Translation and Full Post-Editing of Raw Machine Translation Output. Master's Thesis. Dublin City University.


Also a new MT methodology presented in:
ALLEN, Jeffrey. January/February 2005. Getting started with Machine Translation. In the special supplement "Guide to Translation" of MultiLingual Computing & Technology, Number 69, Volume 16, Issue 1.

https://216.18.156.115/multilingual/downloads/screenSupp69.pdf
(Screen optimized)

https://216.18.156.115/multilingual/downloads/printSupp69.pdf
(Print optimized)

Regards,

Jeff
http://www.geocities.com/jeffallenpubs/
http://www.geocities.com/mtpostediting/



[Edited at 2004-12-29 13:13]


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