When machine translation isn't funny any more: Facebook translates 'good morning' into 'attack them'
Thread poster: Tom in London

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:04
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Oct 24

http://bit.ly/2i2g5Ek

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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:04
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
How horrible! Oct 24

As I have been saying for years, it's unfortunately going to take someone (or multiple people) dying or being seriously injured, or a major company losing millions and the story "going viral" before the general public starts to listen to translators when they say that MT cannot be consistently relied upon for anything important.



[Edited at 2017-10-24 13:33 GMT]


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CafeTran Training
Netherlands
Local time: 03:04
Not even for the unimportant Oct 24

LegalTransform wrote:

MT cannot be consistently relied upon for anything important


Of course! But it can be a great help for the human translator, when used wisely.


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Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
French to Danish
+ ...
"Wise use" Oct 24

At the present inadequate state of MT reliability, my idea of "wise use" is to treat MT as a rotten tooth: pull it out.

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CafeTran Training
Netherlands
Local time: 03:04
French to English Oct 24

Thomas T. Frost wrote:

At the present inadequate state of MT reliability, my idea of "wise use" is to treat MT as a rotten tooth: pull it out.


Danish is not yet supported by DeepL, but did you try French to English?

[Edited at 2017-10-24 16:56 GMT]


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:04
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Even worse Oct 24

Deepl is even worse than Google Translate (at least from Italian to English)

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Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
French to Danish
+ ...
No Oct 24

CafeTran Training wrote:

Danish is not yet supported by DeepL, but did you try French to English?


No, I haven't tried that. Most of my work is in other combinations. I tried Microsoft's plugin for FR-DA a couple of years ago, but I quickly stopped, as the translations were too literal. It's no good just editing a fundamentally flawed or overly literal and unnaturally-sounding sentence structure. No time was saved, and the results were better without the plugin.

A regular client recently introduced an MT system they claimed had been vastly improved, but the results were ridiculous. Examples:

• "See our latest {make} offers": "offers" translated as verb instead of noun.
• Several compound word errors.
• "Discover more about {make} checks and inspections to keep your {make} safe and in top condition" translated as if it said: "Discover more about {make} checks and inspections of your {make} safely and in good condition" (complete nonsense).
• Incorrect inflexions.
• Incorrect gender.
• Incorrect use of infinitive instead of imperative.
• "Individualize your {make} with a set of new alloy wheels" translated as if it said: "Make your {brand} a set of new alloy wheels" (nonsense).
• "It won’t be long until the next winter arrives, and the {brand} Complete winter wheels will be there when it does" translated as if it said: "It won’t be long until next winter, and {brand}'s complete winter wheels when it happens" (nonsense).

These are not just a few rare errors; the whole machine translation was like this.

I politely declined working with this system. To be fair, they gave us the option simply to clear the entire MT before starting, and charging it as a normal translation.


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:04
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
An example Oct 24

Here’s a legal boilerplate paragraph in German. You will see that both GT and DeepL do a pretty good job until it comes to the last sentence when they both get confused with the German extended adjective construction + a legal concept that every legal translator has seen 1000 times. What is a “long-term dissertation” or a “prolonged divergent exercise”?

In other words, it still takes a trained professional to distinguish, as they say here in the south, “shi% from shinola”


Original German:
Mündliche Nebenabreden zu dieser Vereinbarung sind nicht getroffen. Änderungen oder Ergänzungen dieser Vereinbarung bedürfen zu ihrer Wirksamkeit der Schriftform. Dies gilt auch für die Aufhebung des vorstehenden Schriftformerfordernisses. Auch eine langandauernde abweichende Übung hat keine Änderung der betreffenden vertraglichen Vereinbarung zur Folge.


Google Translate:
Verbal ancillary agreements to this agreement have not been made. Amendments or additions to this agreement require the written form to be effective. This also applies to the abolition of the above requirement for the written form. A long-term dissertation does not result in any change to the contractual agreement in question.

DeepL:
Verbal ancillary agreements to this agreement have not been made. Changes or additions to this agreement must be made in writing in order to become effective. This also applies to the cancellation of the aforementioned written form requirement. Even a prolonged divergent exercise does not result in a change of the relevant contractual agreement.

Bing:
Verbal ancillary agreements to this agreement are not made. Changes or additions to this agreement require written form to be effective. This also applies to the repeal of the aforementioned written form requirements. Even a long-term deviating exercise does not result in any modification of the relevant contractual agreement.

[Edited at 2017-10-24 19:06 GMT]


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CafeTran Training
Netherlands
Local time: 03:04
Snippets only Oct 24

Just to be clear: even when I think that DeepL is useful, this is only on a snippets level. For me it’s a nice typing aid and a terms finder. Or more precisely: a term hint engine. It suggests terms that you can accept if you already know that they are correct or further investigate if you have doubts. But at least for my language combination these hints are often useful. I guess that this depends on the subject field and language combination. Mine are covered by Linguee (DeepL’s training material) extremely well.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 02:04
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
MT Oct 24

Last week I had my very first post-editing of Machine Translation (Google Translate). I did it because the client accepted to pay my full translation rate. Some short sentences were OK but for the most part it was a hotchpotch of errors mixing European and Brazilian Portuguese…

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Daniel Frisano
Monaco
Local time: 03:04
Member (2008)
English to Italian
+ ...
Babel Fish Oct 25

Wait until people start using this:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4276880/249-earphones-translate-foreign-languages-real-time.html

Oh how I'd love to witness some tourist trying it in a restaurant and getting stuck in an endless Abbott-and-Costello-esque routine.

Anyway, yes, it's not funny when somebody ends up in a mess because of MT. Or because of dubious human translation:

http://www.nytimes.com/1989/08/21/opinion/l-good-translation-might-have-prevented-hiroshima-322089.html


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When machine translation isn't funny any more: Facebook translates 'good morning' into 'attack them'

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