Skype's real-time Translator learns how to speak from social media

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Thomas Kis-Major  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 04:05
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Published it Aug 23, 2014

Thanks, Maria, I published it mentioning you as my source on:
http://www.scoop.it/t/what-would-you-loose-if-nobody-would-translate


 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:05
Russian to English
+ ...
A total waste of money and human effort--in my opinion. Aug 23, 2014

Cannot they do something real, or get a real job?

[Edited at 2014-08-23 09:06 GMT]


 

Orrin Cummins  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 02:05
Japanese to English
+ ...
... Aug 23, 2014


Skype's real-time Translator learns how to speak from social media


Oh, you mean it's learning to translate from stuff like this?
























 

Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 12:05
German to English
+ ...
Skype and translating? Aug 24, 2014

Is that for the text box underneath? I know Skype mostly for speech - the stuff you hear rather than read.

 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 01:05
Chinese to English
That would be great Aug 24, 2014

Orrin Cummins wrote:

Oh, you mean it's learning to translate from stuff like this?

If a machine learned to understand tweets like those, it would be well on the way to learning to translate properly. Twitter could be a goldmine for MT researchers.

Though, looking at those tweets makes me so very glad that I don't do Twitter. Who in their right mind thinks that allowing that drivel into their head makes the world a better place?


 

Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:05
English to German
+ ...
output quality Aug 24, 2014

Please visit:
http://www.proz.com/forum/translation_news/269908-microsoft_unveils_real_time_audio_and_text_based_language_translation_via_skype.html

I took a look at the output.


 

Orrin Cummins  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 02:05
Japanese to English
+ ...
... Aug 24, 2014

Phil Hand wrote:

Who in their right mind thinks that allowing that drivel into their head makes the world a better place?


Hundreds of millions of people, it seems, judging by the amount of followers some of these accounts have.

And if machines learn to understand English like that...well, at that point we humans would in all likelihood either be extinct or else enslaved to them.


 

Orrin Cummins  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 02:05
Japanese to English
+ ...
... Aug 24, 2014



Yes, that was an interesting analysis you did. To think, that was a staged, prepped demonstration where both parties were speaking near-perfect English and German.

If anyone thinks that Skype Translator is going to correctly translate speech from someone like Snoop Dogg, then it might be time to see a psychiatrist.


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 01:05
Chinese to English
I believe in the hive mind Aug 24, 2014

I'm actually more optimistic about the possibility of a Skype translator working than you. Do you remember the Google image game? Early on, G had the problem of how to get the computer to understand images, so they developed a game whereby they flashed images up to two people at the same time, and they had to write the words that the image looked like. You got points if both people wrote the same words, so that incentivised bored students to play, and very quickly, G got a remarkably accurate database of keywords reflecting what real people see in images (as opposed to what the image is putatively "of").

I raise that as an example of stuff you can do with massive participation. Is your translator having trouble understanding certain accents? Release a viral video requiring responses in which people read a certain script. You get a million responses, with all kinds of accents and a known text, and your computer gets a zillion more datapoints to improve its comprehension. Siri must be doing that already.

Once a computer system is genuinely interacting with people in a particular way, I think improvement can be very quick.


 

Orrin Cummins  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 02:05
Japanese to English
+ ...
You have a point Aug 24, 2014

Phil Hand wrote:

I'm actually more optimistic about the possibility of a Skype translator working than you. Do you remember the Google image game? Early on, G had the problem of how to get the computer to understand images, so they developed a game whereby they flashed images up to two people at the same time, and they had to write the words that the image looked like. You got points if both people wrote the same words, so that incentivised bored students to play, and very quickly, G got a remarkably accurate database of keywords reflecting what real people see in images (as opposed to what the image is putatively "of").

I raise that as an example of stuff you can do with massive participation. Is your translator having trouble understanding certain accents? Release a viral video requiring responses in which people read a certain script. You get a million responses, with all kinds of accents and a known text, and your computer gets a zillion more datapoints to improve its comprehension. Siri must be doing that already.

Once a computer system is genuinely interacting with people in a particular way, I think improvement can be very quick.


What you are describing though is recognition. Computers are pretty good at that already, as you can tell from how far voice-recognition technology has come (as well as the image example you describe).

The way I see it, the problem is not recognition, but synthesis. A computer has been taught to recognize the elements of an image, but can it create one from scratch? Similarly, even my lowly laptop can recognize complex English sentences perfectly through voice recognition, but it certainly can't come up with them on its own, or even convert them accurately into another language.

And frankly, it's more than a little scary to imagine what will happen when a machine does actually get to the point where it can synthesize data at the level of a human. Because I can guarantee that it won't stay at that level for long.

[Edited at 2014-08-24 18:18 GMT]


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 01:05
Chinese to English
Synthesis even easier Aug 24, 2014

The problem has been that no-one ever did what computers said; and there was no way to record what people did anyway. So let's say you're trying to get your computer to learn how to accurately convey the sentiment, please take three paces to the left. It tries out various wordings. People ignore it. A few people follow the instructions as best they can, and are videotaped. But the computer can't read the video to tell if they took three steps or not. There's no feedback, the computer can't improve.

Now, none of the above applies: MMPORGs. You want to get a computer to learn how to give accurate instructions in French, you take over WoW in French, tell it to experiment with its language, count how many people do the required thing. Very quickly, it has functional French.

Once computers interact with us, they will get good at interacting with us.

As to the worry - I'm not worried because of a philosophical belief in the importance of desires to consciousness. Basically, SkyNet won't happen because computers don't want anything, and we don't actually know how to program desires in.

But I take seriously the idea that everyone could be out of a job in 20 years. Us, sure, but everyone else as well.

[Edited at 2014-08-24 18:33 GMT]


 

Orrin Cummins  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 02:05
Japanese to English
+ ...
... Aug 25, 2014

Phil Hand wrote:

As to the worry - I'm not worried because of a philosophical belief in the importance of desires to consciousness. Basically, SkyNet won't happen because computers don't want anything, and we don't actually know how to program desires in.


[Edited at 2014-08-24 18:33 GMT]


I hope you are right...for all of our sakes.

(continues building EMP device)


 


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Skype's real-time Translator learns how to speak from social media

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