[Foundation-l] Google Translate now assists with human translations of Wikipedia articles

Brian Brian.Mingus at colorado.edu
Tue Jun 9 22:31:03 UTC 2009

This is a theory. Google has a different theory that is backed up by
results. The size of the sentence-aligned corpus determines the quality of
the translation. The algorithms are entirely secondary.

In the absence of a sentence aligned corpus one must be created. People want
good machine translations but such translations require people to first do
part of the work. It's a perfectly reasonable symbiotic relationship. There
is no reason to expect that this project 1) won't help Google and 2) won't
help Wikipedia.

On Tue, Jun 9, 2009 at 3:57 PM, Amir E. Aharoni <amir.aharoni at gmail.com>wrote:

> On Wed, Jun 10, 2009 at 00:26, Brian<Brian.Mingus at colorado.edu> wrote:
> > Honestly, I should have learned by now to ignore comments like this.
> Google
> > is the leading world expert on machine translation and they think it's a
> > good idea. I understand why they think it's a good idea, you don't.
> You're
> > shooting straight from the gut.
> Not quite - i am finishing a degree in Linguistics and i work as an
> NLP programmer, so i know the field a little.
> Google is the leading world expert in searching vast amounts of text
> in English, a language with next to no morphology. They aren't as good
> at searching in Hebrew, Spanish and Russian. And their translation
> software doesn't even cover Persian, a language with a relatively
> simple morphology.
> Google appear to assume that the statistical approach to machine
> translation is the only one that matters and that their leadership in
> search technologies makes them the leaders in machine translation.
> They are wrong. The statistical approach helps, but humans don't think
> only statistically. The grammars of even the best-researched languages
> - English, French, German - are ridiculously far from being described
> completely. When i say "grammar", i refer to the whole language
> system: morphology, syntax, semantics, discourse analysis, typography,
> prosody, phonology and more. We can't teach computers grammar, because
> we don't really understand it ourselves, and without teaching
> computers proper grammar, the statistical approach is very limited.
> Google improved their translation software a little in the last couple
> of years but they are many, many years away from being able to
> translate a real text. Google translation paired with something like
> [[Universal Networking Language]] or maybe OmegaWiki may yield better
> results, but it will take many more years to complete. Of course,
> something may change and Big Companies may start pouring a lot of
> money into dictionary and grammar book writers. Until that happens,
> expect improvements in machine translation to be Very Slow.
> --
> אמיר אלישע אהרוני
> Amir Elisha Aharoni
> http://aharoni.wordpress.com
> "We're living in pieces,
>  I want to live in peace." - T. Moore
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