Off topic: Have fun with machine translation!!
Thread poster: Narasimhan Raghavan

Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:12
English to Tamil
+ ...
Aug 30, 2009

There is a lot of (horror) stories about machine translation. My favorite story for the last thirty years goes like this.

The sentence "Out of sight, out of mind" is well known. If you do not see a person for a long time, you tend to forget him. This is true of really famous stars, who suddenly stop acting and fade away from the public gaze. Within a short span of time people just forget about them and new people who come on the scene, have not even heard of them. You got the picture? More about this later.

Let us come back to the sentence, "Out of sight, out of mind". It seems that this sentence was fed into a computer for translation into Russian. The resulting sentence was fed into another computer for translating back into English. The sentence that came out was "Invisible idiot".

You will have to keep in mind that this story has been circulating for more than 30 years and at that time machine translation was not that much known.

Have things became better? I was reading this post about machine translation by google translate and was introduced to this hilarious game.

One sentence in English is to be typed in a box for the purpose of back and forth translation. The moment you click for finding the equilibrium, the machine translation program goes on translating from English into Japanese and back to English and so on, till two successive English sentences are the same. Then you get the message saying that the equilibrium is found.

I give below the result I found. The original sentence describes a beautiful maiden coming to a garden along with her playmates and gets separated from them. She meets a handsome man and falls in love with him. A typical start to a love story.

Original
The young charming heroine out on a game in a garden with her friends gets separated from the latter and wanders around.

into Japanese
彼女の友達と一緒に庭でゲームに小さな魅力的なヒロインを、後者から分離されるの中をうろうろ。

back into English
The heroine in the game in a small attractive garden with her friend, separated from the parade around the latter.

back into Japanese
彼女の友人は、後者の周りのパレードで区切られた小さな魅力的な庭園では、ゲームでのヒロイン。

back into English
Her friend, a charming garden, separated by a small parade around the latter, the heroine of the game.

back into Japanese
彼女の友人は、魅力的な庭園は、後者の周りに小さなパレードで区切られた、ゲームの主人公。

back into English
Her friend, an attractive garden, separated by a small parade around the latter, the hero of the game.

back into Japanese
彼女の友人、魅力的な庭園は、後者の周りに小さなパレードで区切られた、ゲームの主人公。

back into English
Her friend, an attractive garden, separated by a small parade around the latter, the hero of the game.

Equilibrium found! That's deep, man.

I am curious. Let us now try the sentence "Out of sight, out of mind" and see what we get. Here goes:

Original
Out of sight, out of mind

into Japanese
視界の外に心の

back into English
Heart out of sight

back into Japanese
心臓が視力

back into English

Eye heart

back into Japanese
眼部

back into English
Eye

back into Japanese
アイ

back into English
I

back into Japanese
わたし

back into English
I

Equilibrium found!

There you are. Have a nice day.

Regards,
N. Raghavan


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texjax DDS PhD  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:42
Member (2006)
English to Italian
+ ...
This is amazing! Aug 30, 2009

Hi Narasimhan, thank you for your post.
I tried the hilarious game with a sentence I do like very much, and this is the amazing result:

Original

The truth is balance. However the opposite of truth, which is unbalance, may not be a lie
(by Susan Sontag)

find equilibrium

The truth is balance. However the opposite of truth, which is unbalance, may not be a lie
into Japanese
真実をバランスです。しかし、真実の反対は、不均衡は、うそであることができない可能性があります
back into English
The balance of the truth. However, the opposite of the truth is, the imbalance may not be able to be a lie
back into Japanese
真実のバランス。しかし、真実の反対で、不均衡がうそであることができない可能性があります
back into English
Balance of truth. However, the opposite of truth, may not be a lie imbalance
back into Japanese
バランスの真実。しかし、真実の反対で、うその不均衡することができない
back into English
Truth balance. However, the opposite of truth, the imbalance can not lie
back into Japanese
真実のバランス。しかし、真実とは逆の不均衡は、うそをつかない
back into English
Balance of truth. However, the truth is the opposite imbalance, lie
back into Japanese
バランスの真実。しかし、真実は逆の不均衡は、うそ
back into English
Truth balance. But the truth is the opposite imbalance, lie
back into Japanese
真実のバランス。しかし、実際は逆の不均衡は、うそ
back into English
Balance of truth. But actually the opposite imbalance, lie
back into Japanese
バランスの真実。しかし、実際には逆の不均衡は、うそ
back into English
Truth balance. But, in fact the opposite imbalance, lie
back into Japanese
真実のバランス。しかし、実際は逆の不均衡で、うそ
back into English
Balance of truth. But in fact the opposite imbalance, lie
back into Japanese
バランスの真実。しかし、実際には反対側の不均衡で、うそ
back into English
Truth balance. But the truth is the opposite imbalance, lie
back into Japanese
真実のバランス。しかし、実際は逆の不均衡は、うそ
back into English
Balance of truth. But actually the opposite imbalance, lie
back into Japanese
バランスの真実。しかし、実際には逆の不均衡は、うそ
back into English
Truth balance. But, in fact the opposite imbalance, lie
back into Japanese
真実のバランス。しかし、実際は逆の不均衡で、うそ
back into English
Balance of truth. But in fact the opposite imbalance, lie
back into Japanese
バランスの真実。しかし、実際には反対側の不均衡で、うそ
back into English
Truth balance. But the truth is the opposite imbalance, lie
back into Japanese
真実のバランス。しかし、実際は逆の不均衡は、うそ
back into English
Balance of truth. But actually the opposite imbalance, lie
back into Japanese
バランスの真実。しかし、実際には逆の不均衡は、うそ
back into English
Truth balance. But, in fact the opposite imbalance, lie
back into Japanese
真実のバランス。しかし、実際は逆の不均衡で、うそ
back into English
Balance of truth. But in fact the opposite imbalance, lie
back into Japanese
バランスの真実。しかし、実際には反対側の不均衡で、うそ
back into English
Truth balance. But the truth is the opposite imbalance, lie
back into Japanese
真実のバランス。しかし、実際は逆の不均衡は、うそ
back into English
Balance of truth. But actually the opposite imbalance, lie
back into Japanese
バランスの真実。しかし、実際には逆の不均衡は、うそback into English
Truth balance. But, in fact the opposite imbalance, lie
back into Japanese
真実のバランス。しかし、実際は逆の不均衡で、うそ
back into English
Balance of truth. But in fact the opposite imbalance, lie
back into Japanese
バランスの真実。しかし、実際には反対側の不均衡で、うそ
back into English
Truth balance. But the truth is the opposite imbalance, lie
back into Japanese
真実のバランス。しかし、実際は逆の不均衡は、うそ
back into English
Balance of truth. But actually the opposite imbalance, lie
back into Japanese
バランスの真実。しかし、実際には逆の不均衡は、うそ
back into English
Truth balance. But, in fact the opposite imbalance, lie
back into Japanese
真実のバランス。しかし、実際は逆の不均衡で、うそ
back into English
Balance of truth. But in fact the opposite imbalance, lie
back into Japanese
バランスの真実。しかし、実際には反対側の不均衡で、うそ
back into English
Truth balance. But the truth is the opposite imbalance, lie

It is doubtful that this phrase will ever reach equilibrium.


Here you are! You have a nice day too

[Edited at 2009-08-30 02:30 GMT]


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Marjolein Verhulsdonck-Roest
Netherlands
Local time: 19:42
Member (2009)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Interesting! Aug 30, 2009

How about this utterly simple sentence from a translation I am working on right now:

people calling you names
into Japanese
人々が名を呼び出す
back into English
Calling people names is
back into Japanese
人の名前の呼び出しが
back into English
The name of the person calling
back into Japanese
人の呼び出しの名前
back into English
The name of the person calling

Does anything useful ever come up? Or the same sentence even?


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 19:42
English to Croatian
+ ...
JP Aug 30, 2009

Marjolein Verhulsdonck-Roest wrote:

Does anything useful ever come up? Or the same sentence even?


Not sure about Japanese because it has OSV structure, unlike English with SVO structure. That said, useful sentences come up in English-Croatian pair when it's a simple sentence constituted of subject+verb+object, since Croatian also has SVO structure.

I'll run this sentence through google translate to confirm the theory:

John has a car.

SVO languages:
Croatian:Ivan ima automobil.
German:John hat ein Auto.
French: John a une voiture.

Japanese:
ジョンは車を持って。 ( have no idea if this is correct?)

or other simple phrases of same structure... ( very rare though)

This sentence would also probably work well for SVO languages if they were coordinated with "and"... "or" etc

For example: John has a car and Mary has a house.

etc...

Briefly, it only works with same structural units.



[Edited at 2009-08-30 10:11 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:42
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I excuse them Aug 30, 2009

After reviewing for a customer a horrendous translation made by translators who claim it to be a marvellous piece of work, I honestly excuse machine translation products and their developers for the kind of issues you describe. After all, human language is a very complex thing and computers will still take some time to master it.

What I don't excuse is to see how a translator claims to have a big experience in something and then making a true mess of texts until the customer gets suspicious about the quality (or receives complaints from the users of the text) and asks for a second opinion.


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Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:42
English to Japanese
+ ...
No, it's not correct Aug 30, 2009

Lingua 5B wrote:

Marjolein Verhulsdonck-Roest wrote:

Does anything useful ever come up? Or the same sentence even?


Not sure about Japanese because it has OSV structure, unlike English with SVO structure. That said, useful sentences come up in English-Croatian pair when it's a simple sentence constituted of subject+verb+object, since Croatian also has SVO structure.

I'll run this sentence through google translate to confirm the theory:

John has a car.

SVO languages:
Croatian:Ivan ima automobil.
German:John hat ein Auto.
French: John a une voiture.

Japanese:
ジョンは車を持って。 ( have no idea if this is correct?)

or other simple phrases of same structure... ( very rare though)

This sentence would also probably work well for SVO languages if they were coordinated with "and"... "or" etc

For example: John has a car and Mary has a house.

etc...

Briefly, it only works with same structural units.



[Edited at 2009-08-30 10:11 GMT]


Hello everyone,

I read with great interest regarding the Eng-Jap machine translation. And I have to say that they are totally nonsense in the sense of meanings.

For Lingua 5B's "John has a car" translated into Japanese, the translation literally means "John, having a car..." which is not a complete sentence at all, and as you can see, it is quite different from the original meaning.


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Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 13:42
Member
Spanish
+ ...
Hey Jude Aug 30, 2009

I was having a Beatles-week when I found that page, so I entered Hey Jude out of curiosity. I posted the results in my blog: Translation Party with the Beatles - Hey Jude (Funny).

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Giuseppina Gatta, MA (Hons)
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
I completely agree Aug 30, 2009

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

After reviewing for a customer a horrendous translation made by translators who claim it to be a marvellous piece of work, I honestly excuse machine translation products and their developers for the kind of issues you describe. After all, human language is a very complex thing and computers will still take some time to master it.

What I don't excuse is to see how a translator claims to have a big experience in something and then making a true mess of texts until the customer gets suspicious about the quality (or receives complaints from the users of the text) and asks for a second opinion.


When I see the horror of certain (dis)human translations that I have to review, I wish I had to correct machine translations. At least they are fun, and being made by a machine, the machine is excusable. The wanna-be translator is NOT (and is not even fun).


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Marion Rooijmans
Netherlands
Local time: 19:42
English to Dutch
+ ...
Crash other parties Sep 1, 2009

I just clicked the 'Crash Other Parties' link on the website, and then the sentence 'What the *bleep* were they thinking!' Hilarious result!

[Edited at 2009-09-01 08:45 GMT]


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