Machines trying to translate

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burque505
Posts: 1372
Joined: 22 Jan 2017, 19:37

Machines trying to translate

16 Jun 2020, 08:15

:D Machine translation

Original Catalan from today's El Punt / Avui:
Buch nega que escollís d’assessor a un mosso perquè fes d’escorta de Puigdemont
Google (not horrible, but a mosso in this context is a Catalan police officer):
Buch denies that he chose a young man as an adviser to escort Puigdemont
Microsoft - shame, shame:
Buch denies that you choose Advisor to a servant to make a escort Puigdemont
And Yandex, epic fail:
Buch denies that chile adviser to a boy because check escort of Puigdemont
Translators, you're not going to be out of a job anytime soon. :D
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Gio
Posts: 1058
Joined: 30 Sep 2013, 10:54
Location: Brazil

Re: Machines trying to translate

16 Jun 2020, 11:11

Let me try it:

Buch denies that he chose a (specific) young man as an adviser (just) because he (that specific young man) was an escort to Puigdemont (in other words: Buch denies that the only reason for this choice was to please Puidgemont by choosing someone close to Puidgemont)

Is this correct? (I don't speak catalan) :D

Translating often requires interpretation that goes beyond the literal meaning of the words. Some expressions are formed by words that do have a literal meaning, but their set makes more sense if you belong to a particular group (the cultural aspect of language). i.e.: Slangs or even "sayings" such as: "catch-22" may be specially hard for a foreigner or an algoritm to understand.
burque505
Posts: 1372
Joined: 22 Jan 2017, 19:37

Re: Machines trying to translate

16 Jun 2020, 11:54

Yeah, it's tough. Apart from the cultural aspect, both the phrase and the surrounding text need to be considered. My translation would be
Buch denies he picked a Mosso d'Esquadra as consultant for the purpose of providing security for Puigdemont.
The surrounding text gives it away - Buch claims he picked the police officer because of his technical expertise and on the advice of other consultants, and knew nothing of any relationship of the officer (either before or after he hired him) with Puigdemont. In all fairness, there's no way for the algorithms to figure that out from what I gave them. Nonetheless, Microsoft and Yandex were really far off the mark.
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Gio
Posts: 1058
Joined: 30 Sep 2013, 10:54
Location: Brazil

Re: Machines trying to translate

16 Jun 2020, 12:23

burque505 wrote:
16 Jun 2020, 11:54
for the purpose of providing security for Puigdemont.
Hmm, yea, now that i think of it, this could indeed also be the actual meaning.

Which is an interesting discussion in the same topic altogether.

My idea when i proposed close to Puidgemont as the translation actually steemed from the fact that this was a news report and in my country it is more common for the news to criticize politicians for their choices of staff when it becomes apparent that the choice was to please someone (i.e.: a staff position, which should be completely based on merit in specific skills, is apparently used to promote someone of the inner social circles of the politician - or of an allied politician -, making the whole set of skills/merit not a primary reason for the choice altogether).

If this is not commonplace in the news of your country, i guess that it does make more sense to think that the choice was in fact related to the skills in question being shifted in favor of the politician (but still being related to merit/skills rather than a complete distortion that serves only to promote someone).

That is yet another curious aspect of translation: the meaning can be bound to the current day-to-day realities of the emiters and/or receivers of the message :beer:
SOTE
Posts: 1080
Joined: 15 Jun 2015, 06:21

Re: Machines trying to translate

21 Jun 2020, 19:06

Keep in mind that Google Translate does allow people to add suggestions on what the translation should be. This is probably why it was a bit closer to the mark. Though I'm curious about how the algorithm or staff at Google decides that a translation should be officially changed. In theory, if you got enough fluent people or professional translators to modify the translations, you should be getting very close. But you would have to verify their credentials, and then also filter out people that are trolling or are just plain bad at it.

Anyway, the more a sentence is lacking in details and is ambiguous, the more likely the machine translation will get it wrong. Machine translation won't replace being fluent in the language, at least not anytime soon. It's primarily for understanding the gist of what is meant, which is good enough for casual consumption, and not for something official or critical.
damonpatel
Posts: 3
Joined: 03 Jul 2020, 04:17

Re: Machines trying to translate

23 Jul 2020, 22:09

You need to consider the cultural aspect, phrase and the surounding text. Google Translate also allows people to add suggestions on what the translation should be.

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