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Off topic: I love Machine Translation!
Thread poster: Two´s a Team

Two´s a Team  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sep 17, 2013

There is no way that machine translation is going to take over the world just yet! My spanish to english translation should have read:- "A concrete block wall jardiniere is positioned on the pavement...".
But the machine translation said:-
"Across the street is a gardener executed with concrete block wall plastered and coated"!!!! Classic!


 

Triston Goodwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
... Sep 17, 2013

What a way to go! I can relate though, that's how I feel after spending all day in front of the computer.

I came across one for a car that said that you had to honk the horn in order to open the trunk.


 

Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 00:05
Member
Spanish
+ ...
So much misinformation and plain lies about MT Sep 18, 2013

Although I'm not looking forward to having computers take over my job, I am very disturbed by the amount of misinformation about MT among translators. There are a lot of bloggers and "experts" who spread these insane ideas about what machine translation can and cannot do. We, translators, need to be aware of how MT works in order to keep up with technology and protect our jobs.

The fact that Google Translate or Systran (available to translators and our direct clients) produce crappy translations of non-technical texts proves absolutely nothing, it's just funny; and it only adds up to the ignorance of the community of translators about this topic. I see it as having someone aiming his gun at you while you cover your ears, screaming 'la, la, la, la'. That won't stop the bullet; and making fun or spreading false ideas of crappy MT systems won't stop the rise of MT.

First of all, MT works really well... for technical texts WRITTEN FOR MT. These systems aren't anything like Google Translate; and large corporations spend millions of dollars to perfect it and to have access to those systems. No translator has access to them simply because we can't afford them and we don't have a team of technical writers who can prepare MT-ready texts. But the truth is that, whether we want it or not (and let's face it, we don't), MT is here to stay and we can hide our heads in the sand or we can learn how it truly works and adapt to the new times.


 

WriuszTran
Germany
Local time: 07:05
The real joke is some human translators Sep 18, 2013

Claudia Alvis wrote:

Although I'm not looking forward to having computers take over my job, I am very disturbed by the amount of misinformation about MT among translators. There are a lot of bloggers and "experts" who spread these insane ideas about what machine translation can and cannot do. We, translators, need to be aware of how MT works in order to keep up with technology and protect our jobs.

The fact that Google Translate or Systran (available to translators and our direct clients) produce crappy translations of non-technical texts proves absolutely nothing, it's just funny; and it only adds up to the ignorance of the community of translators about this topic. I see it as having someone aiming his gun at you while you cover your ears, screaming 'la, la, la, la'. That won't stop the bullet; and making fun or spreading false ideas of crappy MT systems won't stop the rise of MT.

First of all, MT works really well... for technical texts WRITTEN FOR MT. These systems aren't anything like Google Translate; and large corporations spend millions of dollars to perfect it and to have access to those systems. No translator has access to them simply because we can't afford them and we don't have a team of technical writers who can prepare MT-ready texts. But the truth is that, whether we want it or not (and let's face it, we don't), MT is here to stay and we can hide our heads in the sand or we can learn how it truly works and adapt to the new times.


I absolutely agree, but the real joke is some human translators. I can provide examples of far worse translations from human translators.


 

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 08:05
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Yes, machines will communicate with machines Sep 18, 2013

The perfect MT environment will be machines producing the text and translate it for machines to read.icon_smile.gif

MT is useful. Often it finds better results than a dictionary. But I still need to see one that gets the German verb right in more complicated sentences.


 

WriuszTran
Germany
Local time: 07:05
Mechanical issue Sep 18, 2013

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

The perfect MT environment will be machines producing the text and translate it for machines to read.icon_smile.gif

MT is useful. Often it finds better results than a dictionary. But I still need to see one that gets the German verb right in more complicated sentences.


That's simply a mechanical issue of pinpointing the real subject. Maybe you need better MT programs (they exist). In any case, it's not the usual MT problem of having real life experience.


 

Thomas Rebotier  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:05
English to French
The Vodka is good, but the meat is rotten Sep 18, 2013

Extra kudos if you know the original author of this machine translated quote!

 

LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:05
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
Matthew 26:41 Sep 18, 2013

Thomas Rebotier wrote:

Extra kudos if you know the original author of this machine translated quote!


Isn't that actually (allegedly) the result not just of MT but MT backtranslation as well?


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
Curate's egg Sep 18, 2013

OK, so maybe we shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater just yet.
Nevertheless, the main problem with MT as I see it is how it is seized upon by many people (clients, translators or would-be entrepreneurs) as "the easy way" to do things. How many times have we heard potential clients tell us how much easier translation is supposed to be nowadays thanks to MT - which, like it or not, rather than the specialised MT setups Claudia mentions, equates to systems like Google in the public eye, which AFAIK are still mostly only partially useful and still call for a human translator (preferably a target language native speaker with at least a smidgeon of knowledge on the subject in question) to sort out their messes.

As for poking fun at MT outcomes - I think we all need a bit of light relief after a long day's slog - I certainly do - and this is one target of derision that so often richly deserves a ribbing.



[Edited at 2013-09-18 09:36 GMT]


 

Orrin Cummins  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 14:05
Japanese to English
+ ...
But... Sep 18, 2013

Claudia Alvis wrote:

Although I'm not looking forward to having computers take over my job, I am very disturbed by the amount of misinformation about MT among translators. There are a lot of bloggers and "experts" who spread these insane ideas about what machine translation can and cannot do. We, translators, need to be aware of how MT works in order to keep up with technology and protect our jobs.

The fact that Google Translate or Systran (available to translators and our direct clients) produce crappy translations of non-technical texts proves absolutely nothing, it's just funny; and it only adds up to the ignorance of the community of translators about this topic. I see it as having someone aiming his gun at you while you cover your ears, screaming 'la, la, la, la'. That won't stop the bullet; and making fun or spreading false ideas of crappy MT systems won't stop the rise of MT.

First of all, MT works really well... for technical texts WRITTEN FOR MT. These systems aren't anything like Google Translate; and large corporations spend millions of dollars to perfect it and to have access to those systems. No translator has access to them simply because we can't afford them and we don't have a team of technical writers who can prepare MT-ready texts. But the truth is that, whether we want it or not (and let's face it, we don't), MT is here to stay and we can hide our heads in the sand or we can learn how it truly works and adapt to the new times.


You say yourself that hardly anyone has access to these "super-MT" systems. Not to mention, the overall ratio of texts written specifically for MT to those texts that are unsuitable for MT is exceedingly small. Therefore, when people talk about MT on these forums and elsewhere on the Internet, they are in all likelihood referring only to Google Translate and other freely available, shoddy versions of MT. These are the ones that the vast majority of translators as well as the general public are using, and these are the ones by which the bar is set, so to speak.


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
Ditto Sep 18, 2013

... the overall ratio of texts written specifically for MT to those texts that are unsuitable for MT is exceedingly small. Therefore, when people talk about MT on these forums and elsewhere on the Internet, they are in all likelihood referring only to Google Translate and other freely available, shoddy versions of MT. These are the ones that the vast majority of translators as well as the general public are using, and these are the ones by which the bar is set, so to speak. [/quote]

My point exactly!


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 07:05
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
MT is a calculation of the odds Sep 18, 2013

In spite of all the talk of 'neural networks' and 'artificial intelligence', a machine still cannot really understand the text. They simply calculate the odds that a particular set of signals in one language corresponds to a specific set of signals in another.

It still boils down in the end to binary codes which most of us humans can barely imagine, let alone understand.

It is possible to improve the odds. Texts can be prepared to avoid the most frequent sources of confusion, and databases limited to specific subject areas. There are language-specific issues that may affect one pair or translation in one direction and not others.

MT can be useful for predictable situations, well beyond phrases like
Good morning
Yours sincerely
Page 3 of 5 ...

But there will always be work for humans who really understand the text, where you cannot simply take it at face value. Sometimes the jokes help us to understand the problems.

A good laugh is always healthy, and machines are not as likely to get upset as colleagues when we make fun of them. (But make sure the IT-geek who has sweated over the program doesn't take it personally!!!)

I was very puzzled once by a sentence about business executives wearing shorts for security reasons. Swedish executives in Stockholm???

The machine had confused the verb for carry and wear
The adjective 'short' and the noun 'card' are homonyms in Danish...

So the executives were carrying identity cards.... icon_biggrin.gif

I like to compare MT with the weather forecast.
Sometimes it is quite reliable, but sometimes my father-in-law would look out of the window and say RUBBISH!
Generally my father-in-law was right.


[Edited at 2013-09-19 10:42 GMT]


 

Andrea Alvisi  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:05
English to Italian
+ ...
yes, it is :) Sep 18, 2013

Rudolf Vedo CT wrote:

Thomas Rebotier wrote:

Extra kudos if you know the original author of this machine translated quote!


Isn't that actually (allegedly) the result not just of MT but MT backtranslation as well?



Yes, from the original

The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak

Then translated into Russian and back translated into English againicon_smile.gif


 

Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:05
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Calculation of the odds Sep 18, 2013

A machine can never "know" whether it got it right or wrong. It takes a human who understands both languages to do that.

 

Steve Kerry  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:05
German to English
MT-specific Sep 18, 2013

Claudia Alvis wrote:

... MT works really well... for technical texts WRITTEN FOR MT. .


Correct, so large technical companies who are able to define all parameters in certain sections of their literature can, and already do, achieve a large degree of autonomy in their translations and save a great deal of money. Even smaller companies are already using CAT tools and the much-maligned Google Translate to save costs; this trend will only continue to grow.

Steve K.

[Edited at 2013-09-18 19:49 GMT]


 
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