Translation software

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bmore
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Translation software

Unread post by bmore » Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:47 pm

I’m curious what the translators out there think about this one: I have a guy in my office who always says that, in the next few years, translation software will develop to the point that translation as a profession will go the way of the typewriter. While it may take a little longer for JE/EJ software to develop, says he, the writing’s on the wall and it’s simply a matter of time. Another guy in my office says that is bullshit, and won’t happen, at least not in our lifetimes. I’m still relatively new to the translation racket (about a year now), so I’m not sure. If Google translation is any indication of the state of translation software (although I seriously doubt it is), then my job is safe for a while. What do you guys think? What’s the state of JE/EJ translation software? Will translation in certain fields become obsolete, or are all translators in danger of losing their jobs?

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Re: Translation software

Unread post by Examination_Hell » Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:16 am

I dunno, yer mate could be right in saying that machine translating's the way to go, aye. Not too sure that the writing's on the wall as I'm sure any sentences with a few local phrases will hit the software for six then their translations'll be up the creek. :-D
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Re: Translation software

Unread post by BergKatse » Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:09 am

Examination_Hell wrote:私は知らん、ヤーメイトが翻訳し、そのマシンが賛成、進むべき道だと言って、右である可能性があります。ではない私は、彼らのtranslations'llが苦境に立たされてあるいくつかのローカルなフレーズを持つ任意の文章が6のソフトウェアをヒットすると確信しているような書き込みが壁上にあることにも確認してください。 :-D
Examination_Hell wrote:To say I do not know, Yameito to translate, machine is in favor, that it is the way to go, I might be right. I is not, even to be on the wall to write like'm sure any writing with the phrase several local It's in dire straits is translations'll of them to hit the software 6 please check.

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Re: Translation software

Unread post by Shawn » Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:23 pm

That computers have advanced to the point that machine translation can produce wonderful output has been a claim made by machine translation software vendors for decades. I'm in the "not-in-my-lifetime camp." I'd be interested in hearing why your coworker thinks machine translation is the way of the future. In my experience, machine translation falls flat doing to J-E, especially when it comes to parsing wa, ga, and dealing with unstated subjects.

I received some mail in the office the other day hawking cloud-based machine translation. The literature even brazenly admitted that it can't produce acceptable output! Instead, you use their cloud service, and then have a native English speaker polish the draft. :bs: I'm not sure what the advantage of this service is. Why not skip the dealing with crappy draft stage and hire a translator or agency to do the job right the first time? Why pay for a crappy translation and hope a "native check" can save it? Doesn't seem like a very smart strategy to me.

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Re: Translation software

Unread post by inflames » Sun Sep 23, 2012 3:56 pm

Shawn wrote:That computers have advanced to the point that machine translation can produce wonderful output has been a claim made by machine translation software vendors for decades. I'm in the "not-in-my-lifetime camp."
I'd be very careful with saying it won't happen in someone's lifetime. If I had told you 10 years ago you could have a "phone" with only one button (outside of the touch screen) where you can take thousands of pictures, make an hour long movie, have thousands of songs and be able to watch videos from the internet on it most people probably would have said it'll never happen.

There will be a space for competent translators but I would hardly be surprised to see machine translation become rather good if big companies decided to put in the effort and resources to seriously develop something. One of the big improvements would be to have the programmers consult with actual experienced translators to get a sense for how to translate something instead of doing what they do now (which basically is to put a ton of documents and their translations into a database and work off of that).

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Re: Translation software

Unread post by MacGyver » Mon Sep 24, 2012 3:52 pm

Shawn wrote:That computers have advanced to the point that machine translation can produce wonderful output has been a claim made by machine translation software vendors for decades. I'm in the "not-in-my-lifetime camp." I'd be interested in hearing why your coworker thinks machine translation is the way of the future. In my experience, machine translation falls flat doing to J-E, especially when it comes to parsing wa, ga, and dealing with unstated subjects.
:agree:

Language is just too illogical for a machine to handle. Programs need rules and, while languages obviously have rules, there are just too many exceptions and other things, like nuance, outside of these boundaries for programs to be created that can accurately translate, especially two languages that are as different as Japanese and English. Culture and other things also play a part in translation and these are things that also can't be programmed, at least not easily.

One simple example: お疲れ様(です)。"Thanks for a hard day's work" or "Thank you for your tireless efforts" both work for me. "Good night (and see you in the morning)" also works for me. But perhaps none of those could be used depending on context. Maybe it isn't the end of the day. In fact I have non-work related friends that when we meet they say "お疲れ". While you could say that they are offering, as its after work, pleasantries of how hard we/I have worked, I would never translate it as "Well done on a good day's work" or similar because I have never heard anyone in the English speaking world say something like that. In that context, best translation I reckon would be "Hi" or "Good evening" or some other suitable greeting. As someone aware of both language and culture, I understand this. But these are the sorts of things a machine can't be programmed to understand/translate.

Maybe one day it will happen. Never say never. But I just don't think it will be anytime soon.
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Re: Translation software

Unread post by MacGyver » Mon Sep 24, 2012 3:53 pm

inflames wrote:I'd be very careful with saying it won't happen in someone's lifetime. If I had told you 10 years ago you could have a "phone" with only one button (outside of the touch screen) where you can take thousands of pictures, make an hour long movie, have thousands of songs and be able to watch videos from the internet on it most people probably would have said it'll never happen.
Not even the same sport. See my post above for the reason.
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Re: Translation software

Unread post by inflames » Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:59 am

MacGyver wrote:
inflames wrote:I'd be very careful with saying it won't happen in someone's lifetime. If I had told you 10 years ago you could have a "phone" with only one button (outside of the touch screen) where you can take thousands of pictures, make an hour long movie, have thousands of songs and be able to watch videos from the internet on it most people probably would have said it'll never happen.
Not even the same sport. See my post above for the reason.
The point was that saying something won't happen isn't a good idea as very surprising things have happened.

Machine translation won't get to the point where it'll replace humans but it will change it dramatically. I honestly believe the poor quality of the current MT tools are because nobody has bothered to try and do things well as the big players don't see much of a market in it and small players don't have the resources. Basically Google went out and got a ton of things and their translations and put them into their database and this is the foundation of Google Translate. One of the issues with this is that there's no division within the database, so the result might be from some manga or a contract just by virtue of frequency (regardless of the original subject matter). This would be a rather easy thing to fix. The next thing would be a "logic check" and this would be more difficult. Currently MT tools tend to break things up into sentences and translate each one individually - they need to then look at the other sentences to ensure that it fits the context. It would also need to be able to flag certain areas.

If I took 10,000 contracts and put them into a database and tried to translate them I'd bet that it would be OK. It would still need work, but it wouldn't be terrible (or anything like the crap most of these things come out like now).

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Re: Translation software

Unread post by MacGyver » Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:53 am

inflames wrote:If I took 10,000 contracts and put them into a database and tried to translate them I'd bet that it would be OK. It would still need work, but it wouldn't be terrible (or anything like the crap most of these things come out like now).
This is CAT rather than MT. Different kettle of fish.
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Re: Translation software

Unread post by inflames » Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:40 pm

MacGyver wrote:
inflames wrote:If I took 10,000 contracts and put them into a database and tried to translate them I'd bet that it would be OK. It would still need work, but it wouldn't be terrible (or anything like the crap most of these things come out like now).
This is CAT rather than MT. Different kettle of fish.
Fundamentally it's not that different from what Google Translate does now but with a few tweaks.

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Re: Translation software

Unread post by Cadence » Sun Mar 03, 2013 9:29 am

Depending on how old you are, this WILL happen in your lifetime. The userbase is now suitable and providing input, the base-work is now done, and the nature of development is now not about the input / interface / technology, it is merely refinement; refinement of content generated en masse, constantly, by a willing and enabled user base.

While the translations are currently only accurate with fairly 'standard' language, the spread and flexibility of the system is only going to get better, and the better it gets, the faster it gets at getting better.

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