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Is Google MT getting better?
Thread poster: LegalTransform

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:25
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Apr 9, 2007

According to this article (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/03/29/google_translator/): the US Army prefers computer-based systems because they distrust human translators. They are using a system of statistic-based translation with previously translated chunks of bilingual materials to get closer matches.

The Arabic-English translations of these news sites look pretty darn good to me. There are grammatical errors, but most of the text is understandable (you can click on the links to read the stories).

While this will probably not impact specialized translators, how will this affect translators of generalized texts? Will this type of translation suit the need of most clients to just know "what the document says" especially at a fraction of the cost and at lightning-fast speed?

It also appears that they are trying to use human technology by asking people to suggest better translations for each sentence a la Wikipedia.

CNN in Arabic:
http://arabic.cnn.com/

CNN translated to English:
http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http://arabic.cnn.com/&langpair=ar|en&hl=en&ie=UT F-8&oe=UTF-8&prev=%2Flanguage_tools

Al-Jazeera in Arabic:
http://www.aljazeera.net

Al-Jazeera translated to English:
http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http://www.aljazeera.net&langpair=ar|en&hl=en&ie=UT F-8&oe=UTF-8&prev=%2Flanguage_tools








[Edited at 2007-04-09 22:04]


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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
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Better maybe but not good enough Apr 9, 2007

For texts with importance attached to them, you might grasp 'what it is all about', but you cannot be sure of what is said.
Your two links prove it without having to go into detail.

I think we'll still have many years to get paid, even for very general texts.

Language is not statistics or algoritms, it is grammar and word forms, especially if you include a number of German and Latin based languages.

Mats Wiman


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Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
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Translation is not only language Apr 9, 2007

Mate Wiman wrote:
For texts with importance attached to them, you might grasp 'what it is all about', but you cannot be sure of what is said.

Overall, it's not bad, but that is said knowing that it is a machine translation. Looking at it as if it were a human translation, it has serious errors. (These are from the AlJazeera page.)
A translated headline that's hard to understand:
Sudan agrees to a new phase of the plan believe Darfur

From the body of another article on the same page:
. . British sailors who were detained and released by Tehran, in an effort to refute the allegations of ill-treatment of London . .
I suppose it means that the allegations came from London, although it's worded as if London had suffered the alleged ill-treatment.

Mats Wiman wrote:
Language is not statistics or algoritms, it is grammar and word forms . . .
Mats Wiman

. . and translation is not only language; it is also understanding of the real world. Computers can't do that yet.
Oliver


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Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 16:25
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Questionable Apr 9, 2007

I doubt that the US Army relies only on MT for their most important documents. On the other hand--and by no means I want to start a discussion, that would explain a lot of things.

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Mulyadi Subali  Identity Verified
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army should use mt Apr 10, 2007

i think the u.s. army should rely on mt for objectivity reasons.

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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
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Chomsky Apr 10, 2007

Where was Google in 1997? A start-up company. Where is Google now and where will it (Google MT) be in 2017?
MT+CAt will reduce translators to people who revise and rewrite texts into the correct structure=syntax=algorithm (Noam Chomsky).

[Edited at 2007-04-10 06:51]


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Henrik Pipoyan  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:25
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English to Armenian
Possible Apr 10, 2007

If it is possible to compile a dictionary containing if not all, but at least 99% of the word-stock of some a language, why shouldn’t it be possible to make a powerful software that contains matches for some 80-90% of all possible phrases used in a language, and chooses the correct word or phrase with the help of comprehensive analysis, comparing large segments of text, defining the subject, style, etc.? Consequently it will offer translations that are very close to human translation. Of course, these texts will still need some human editing, since no machine can guess 100% what the writer means by each phrase, but there will be very little work to do. So probably we should be ready that very soon we’ll be losing some part of our clients, who just want to know what some text in a foreign language means. But until scientists have invented software that writes like Shakespeare or Faulkner, we’ll have plenty of work. Simply we may need to revise our approach a little and think more of the quality. This will come by itself, because our clients will be those, who are concerned about the quality.

In other words, the creative component of translation can never be automated, and it will become the most important quality of translators, as it has always been before, until the recent century, when translators had gradually become just conveyers of information from one language to another due to rapid growth of written information and globalization. I think we are now witnessing the reevaluation and rehabilitation of translator’s profession.

[Edited at 2007-04-10 07:30]


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Claudia Krysztofiak  Identity Verified
Germany
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Good joke! Apr 10, 2007

Mulyadi Subali wrote:

i think the u.s. army should rely on mt for objectivity reasons.


I have never understood where in human interaction and communication the objectivity part comes. ...

TampaTranslator wrote:
The Arabic-English translations of these news sites look pretty darn good to me. There are grammatical errors, but most of the text is understandable (you can click on the links to read the stories).


How do you know the translation is correct? That the text is understandable is no proof that it says what the original says. Do you understand the source language well enough? It really would be interesting to have the quality evaluated by native speakers with a good understanding of English.


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Mulyadi Subali  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 04:25
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more objective, not better Apr 10, 2007

Claudia Krysztofiak wrote:

Mulyadi Subali wrote:

i think the u.s. army should rely on mt for objectivity reasons.


I have never understood where in human interaction and communication the objectivity part comes. ...



sorry if i sound like a bigot. but as the army is dealing with security, mt is a more suitable option as it is objective in its translation. its human counterpart, on the other hand, can bring many kinds of 'interests' to the translation.
that doesn't mean that i feel threatened with the existence of mt though.

[Edited at 2007-04-10 13:03]


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
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another example Apr 10, 2007

Here is another site that looks pretty good. Seems they have rid the software of the awkward inaccurate subject-verb agreements, etc.

Any Arabic speakers care to comment on the accuracy of the translations - not just the obvious ones that can be edited out and corrected?

http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http://www.lampofliberty.org/glossary/&langpair=ar|en&hl=en&ie=UTF8


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
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Google: the universal translator? Apr 10, 2007

Google, the universal translator:
http://blog.outer-court.com/archive/2005-05-22-n83.html

Google translates Arabic:
http://isam.bayazidi.net/archives/2006/05/google-translates-arabic/



[Edited at 2007-04-10 17:14]


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