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Thread: Google Translate

  1. #11
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    As I said: as a fallback, because it has a lack of sufficient literature in those languages to for it to analyse the direct translation.
    Twey | I understand English | 日本語が分かります | mi jimpe fi le jbobau | mi esperanton komprenas | je comprends français | entiendo español | tôi ít hiểu tiếng Việt | ich verstehe ein bisschen Deutsch | beware XHTML | common coding mistakes | tutorials | various stuff | argh PHP!

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    Quote Originally Posted by djr33 View Post
    Translation is always imperfect; however, it would be possible to get a literal translation to work properly.
    Literal translations can give you hilarious text. If I literally translate Dutch 'hij nam de benen' into French 'il a pris les jambes' (he took the legs), then a native speaker of French will interpret the sentence as referring to someone taking the legs of somebody else (his wife's legs, for instance). This is just an example among thousands of similar cases.
    Quote Originally Posted by djr33 View Post
    On the other hand, using AI it would be possible to design a learning computer that would function as the human mind does, perhaps reading books in each language to learn. Certainly nothing simple, though.
    Not simple indeed. At the level of the sentence, AI may be a possibility. At the level of sequences of sentences, things will get extremely complicated (I would say: impossible to handle with AI). Interpreting sequences of sentences is very much a complicated question of combining syntactical and semantic knowledge with world knowledge (and world knowledge is definitely infinite!!). How could we know, with the help of AI (only), that English 'John fell. Max pushed him' is interpreted as 'Max pushed John, then John fell'', whereas the French literal translation of the sequence: 'Jean tomba. Max le poussa' means (default meaning) that John fell first and was pushed afterwards? (The difference between the English and French sequence is related, among other things, to the differences between the tenses of English and French)
    Quote Originally Posted by Twey View Post
    Interestingly, that is exactly what Google is attempting to do (and how it differs from other translation solutions on the market, such as Apartium or SysTram). Google Translate is fed large amounts of bilingual text, with correspondences in meaning indicated to it, and stores the frequency of each translation, using this to guess the most appropriate translation.
    Twey: what's the link with AI? Storing enormous amounts af linguistic data cannot be qualified as 'intelligent/intelligene'.
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    I don't think I mentioned AI...
    Twey | I understand English | 日本語が分かります | mi jimpe fi le jbobau | mi esperanton komprenas | je comprends français | entiendo español | tôi ít hiểu tiếng Việt | ich verstehe ein bisschen Deutsch | beware XHTML | common coding mistakes | tutorials | various stuff | argh PHP!

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twey View Post
    I don't think I mentioned AI...
    I concluded it from this:

    Quote (DJR):
    On the other hand, using AI it would be possible to design a learning computer that would function as the human mind does, perhaps reading books in each language to learn. Certainly nothing simple, though.
    Twey: Interestingly, that is exactly what Google is attempting to do (and how it differs from other translation solutions on the market, such as Apartium or SysTram). Google Translate is fed large amounts of bilingual text, with correspondences in meaning indicated to it, and stores the frequency of each translation, using this to guess the most appropriate translation.
    ===
    Arie.

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    As I said: as a fallback, because it has a lack of sufficient literature in those languages to for it to analyse the direct translation.
    Well, that implies it to be an exception. At the moment, it's definitely NOT an exception, but the general method used. In time, they will work to make it only a fallback, but right now, "fallback" or not, it's how it translates everything. And it's not about how much literature is available, but how much has been done with this literature to make it work for translation.
    Daniel - Freelance Web Design | <?php?> | <html>| español | Deutsch | italiano | português | català | un peu de français | some knowledge of several other languages: I can sometimes help translate here on DD | Linguistics Forum

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    Quote Originally Posted by djr33 View Post
    [...] At the moment, it's definitely NOT an exception, but the general method used.
    So we would have:
    Je vois l'homme (French) --> I see the man (English) --> Ich sehe de? Mann (German).
    We should have ich sehe deN Mann, but as English doesn't have case (nominative, accusative etc.), this would be impossible to get. Is that Google's method, DJR? That would be most stupid.
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    It's not that bad.

    It's a translation from French to English, then from English to German. That doesn't mean it won't have any cases, but it means it WILL go through the middle step of English, which forces more lost data than going directly. It'll be a decent translation to English, then a decent translation into German, but it'll have the inevitable loss from two steps, and also not the help of translating between two languages that may be more similar to each other than to English.

    Also, English is such a messed up language, it's probably the worst to use as a middle language (except that it's already programmed).



    Edit: Looks like it's now not only going through English


    Here's what we get for the French->German you posted above:
    "Ich sehe den Menschen"

    Now, if I run it through English, I first get:
    "I see the man"
    Then to German:
    "Ich sehe den Mann"

    How strange.

    From "je m'appele Daniel" I get "Ich heisse Daniel" in German. Running through English it becomes "I'm Daniel", then "Ich bin Daniel" in German.

    Well, that's great. They've finally stopped using English in the middle.
    Daniel - Freelance Web Design | <?php?> | <html>| español | Deutsch | italiano | português | català | un peu de français | some knowledge of several other languages: I can sometimes help translate here on DD | Linguistics Forum

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    DJR, that's an improvement on Google's side.
    By the way, why do you think English is a broken and messed up language? Would that mean that French (for instance, or whatever other language) is superior to English IN MANY RESPECTS? If not, you cannot maintain your claim about English.
    (There'a a lot of normal English 'things' that French cannot do. French cannot say, for instance, 'he walked to the kitchen'. It must use the equivalent of 'he went to the kitchen'. Adding how he got there ('walking') would make the sentence rather heavy. Just an example of what French cannot do).
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  9. #19
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    English is an awkward hybrid of Anglo-Saxan (old english, germanic language) and French, thus indirectly bringing in Latin and Greek. The biggest problems with this are shown in the horrible spelling system in English, but it's also present in other ways. It's a hybrid, thus has a lot of awkward features syntactically. English is moving toward being an isolating language (like Chinese), yet insists on holding on to some odd grammatical things, such as "whom", or more frequently "him".

    English is not all that difficult to learn, true, but it's extremely difficult to master because it is entirely irregular. It also is not a very opportune language for translation because it doesn't use many structures that exist in other languages.

    Thus, English is illogical and random-- it works, but only through memorization and not through much to do with patterns. This is shown in those learning English, with, for example, how difficult it can be to learn which preposition to use with which verb, sometimes making an entirely new meaning:
    I want to look up the word.
    I want to look the word up.
    I get up from bed.
    I get from bed up.


    As for French, I do think it is superior to English in many ways, though specifically with French I have other complaints. I think that both German and Italian are better than English, though.
    Last edited by djr33; 07-18-2008 at 11:51 PM.
    Daniel - Freelance Web Design | <?php?> | <html>| español | Deutsch | italiano | português | català | un peu de français | some knowledge of several other languages: I can sometimes help translate here on DD | Linguistics Forum

  10. #20
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    French sound nicer than English when it is spoken from my point of view. Generally I had not much complaints about English other than the tenses stuffs& sometimes the pronounction stuffs.

    For example: present,past tense, future tenses,. I don`t really remember the names of these groups anymore. i learnt it in my primary school times. whereas in your country it should be junior high school ( correct me if I`m wrong).


    djr33: Does French & German sound similar?

    to put it plainly, I believe all major languages have their pros & cons. Maybe 1 of these days someone out there will create an even better language to use

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