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Machine Translation Goofs

Posted: Wed Jun 29, 2016 8:23 am
by Slava
Here's an article from the Beeb on some interesting translations. I do find it a shame they didn't tell us what the real meaning was supposed to be.

Re: Machine Translation Goofs

Posted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 8:16 pm
by Perry Lassiter
English speech into print is difficult enough. I love Siri when it's working, because I hate to type as I'm doing now. (Anyone notice we still say "type" tho we no longer use typewriters?) Sometimes it works fine. Other times it does like those autocorrect web sites that post hilarious mistakes. The worst thing I don't understand is why it often substitutes a weird proper name for a normal word.

The article focuses on offenses, but more dangerous is miscommunication within businesses when discussing business dcisions. For example, many languages use no articlesand there could be a big difference in the choice of a or the. And in some cases omitting them makes the noun generic.

Re: Machine Translation Goofs

Posted: Tue Jul 12, 2016 8:25 am
by Slava
You mention the "type" anachronism. I recently heard another new one, "slamming down" the phone on someone. It just doesn't mean anything anymore, except for those few left with "real" phones.

Re: Machine Translation Goofs

Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 9:46 am
by Philip Hudson
I teach English as a Second Language. As an experiment my class wrote paragraphs in different languages and then submitted them to Google's automatic translation. The results were sort of like the game in which a row of people pass on a whispered phrase. In the main, Chinese is automatically untranslatable to English and vice versa. This is distressing to me because many of my Facebook friends are Chinese and the Facebook automatic translator is worse than the Google one. It is interesting that automatic translations between English and other PIE languages is much better than automatic translations across languages that have no common origin. Even Bengali, which is on the outer edge of PIE, translates pretty well.

Before automatic translators there were also problems. Fifty years ago I read a news report that had originated in Russian. It was about a troublesome sect known as the Fifty Day Christians. The translator was actually referring to Pentecostal Christians. The translator was dealing with a word whose origin was Greek and, out of ignorance, didn't take that into consideration.