Follow

rant on machine translations 

Oh for fucks sake with these machine translations!

When doing REAL translation work (that is, no AI involved), one way to find special terminology has always been searching for educated guesses and seeing if they've been used in any authoritative sources.

But that method is nowadays so useless, because every fucking site makes automatic translations of everything, so the search results are flooded with nonsense that's guaranteed to be incorrect.

rant on machine translations 

STOP DOING MACHINE TRANSLATIONS!

Years of machine translations yet no real-word use found for this pseudolanguage.

”Kuvaus päärynä Lada”, ”Siili: yksityiskohtainen kuvaus syötävästä sienestä” - statements dreamed up by utterly deranged AIs

Wanted to translate anyway? We hada profession for that: it was called TRANSLATORS.

They've played us for absolute fools!

rant on machine translations 

@Stoori Where machine translations work well, they are a huge timesaver.

I translated almost 30 pages full of tables from German to English within two hours — including layout and fixing the few mistakes the translation did.

It does not avoid needing someone versed in the language to edit the result, but it gives a workable first draft.

(but then, specific words from German to English is pretty easy for a translation system: no grammar, no reading between lines)

rant on machine translations 

@ArneBab I think the decision to use or not use machine translation should be left for translators who have the capacity to see where they bring benefit and where they cause harm. In that sense it's like any other professional tool: know what you do before you do it.

rant on machine translations 

@Stoori That sounds like a good rule of thumb.

Though the time saving is a dangerous incentive if the one who hired you does not know the other language. You might not be able to afford doing the job right if someone else offers it for much less doing a bad but not bad enough job.

rant on machine translations 

@ArneBab Yeah. That's partly why we have ended up in this situation: the people using machine translation don't know or care that the results are terrible — they don't have to rely on them anyway!

rant on machine translations 

@Stoori If I had had to translate them myself, it would just have not happened, and this is a hobby site and content that in the almost 20 years of its existence generated only enough money to pay for at most 2 hours of a professional translator.

Machine translation can be an enabler.

The result: almost 30 pages of random tables for roleplaying games in English that would not exist otherwise: 1w6.org/english/tables

rant on machine translations 

@ArneBab @Stoori

This.

It reminds me a bit of how the game of chess changed at the master level after computers became good enough to beat Gary Kasparov. Then the new game of Advanced Chess (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced) was introduced, which kept the human player in control, but provided the aid of the computer to allow the player to focus on the task.

At one job I worked at, we aided clinical coders through the use of AI. Same thing- human driven but computer aided.

rant on machine translations 

@emacsen @Stoori That can work, yes. It needs good information, though. The github co-pilot for example might cause you to violate licenses left and right.

rant on machine translations 

@ArneBab @Stoori

The term coder here may need some explanation. These weren't programmers.

The job of a clinical coder is to take information about a medical patient's diagnosis or treatment and match those up to "codes", numerical labels provided by the insurance company. This is done so that the insurance company has a record of what was done, why it was done, and then how much they will pay out for it.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clinical

(1/2)

rant on machine translations 

@emacsen @Stoori ah — now I understand :-)

rant on machine translations 

@ArneBab @Stoori

This is either done by doctors at the time, by administrative assistants, or in large hospitals by trained teams of 'clinical coders'

The idea of our company was that we could largely automate this task based on doctor's notes. We didn't have to be perfect- we just had to be good enough that even if we made a mistake, that it still cost less than it would have with human coders.

We offered both fully automated and "code assist", ie computer aided.

rant on machine translations 

@emacsen @Stoori code-assist sounds good. Code-Completion for other tasks than coding.

I’ve been wishing to provide similar tools for writers for a long time but I lack data :-)

rant on machine translations 

@Stoori

I feel your pain. I do wonder though if a better translation system were to function if it just expressed its own confidence scores and left some terms untranslated, or then used external resources such as links to Wikipedia/Wikidata in order to try to fill in those semantic gaps.

rant on machine translations 

@emacsen I think that no machine translation should be published without a competent human translator reading it through (and being paid for it, of course). This is especially important for any language that is structurally very different from the source language.

rant on machine translations 

@Stoori

Yup, Read my followup :)

@Stoori There was an article recently on how automated translation has taken over the web, leading to a situation where automated translation no longer has a reliable corpus to train on, just like you the human translator.

@clacke @Stoori oh god a question I always had about the implications of science fiction “universal translator” concepts is coming true

In that, if everyone is always immersed in automated translations, why would anyone even have the ability to learn a language in common with anyone else?

@fluffy @clacke the real life provides the answer: because automated translations regress to useless nonsense :D

@fluffy @Stoori Not even just why, but if you decided to learn, how would you do it if the universal translator keeps tricking you into hearing your own language? Mostly thinking of those implants here rather than some handheld device.

I guess you'd really want to have a way to turn the translator off, also for other reasons than wanting to learn the language. Sometimes not having to know everything a person is saying can be bliss. 😁

@clacke @Stoori Yeah, the question I have in a sci-fi context is that like... if automatic translation is ubiquitous, then how does anyone ever learn a language other than what their brain comes up with naturally? Which is to say my headcanon is that in those shows, everyone is actually speaking in baby-talk babbling.

rant on machine translations 

@Stoori Why hire translators to give you something that actually makes sense when you can put complete nonsense on your website for free?

How did we get to a point where people who evidently hasn't even seriously talked to someone who speak a different language natively are making crucial translating decisions?

rant on machine translations 

@Owlor It's the silicon valley phallasy (misspelling intentional): of course techbros know everything better than anyone else.

re: rant on machine translations 

@Owlor @Stoori it is all conspiracy by Russia (its hundreds of institutes of wounds more specifically) themoscowtimes.com/2010/09/22/

re: rant on machine translations 

@IngaLovinde @Owlor i don't think that arrogant anglotechbros need russian conspiracy to make idiotic decisions about topics they really know nothing about

re: rant on machine translations 

@Stoori @Owlor it's not russian conspiracy, it's russian incompetence...

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Polyglot City

Polyglot City is the right instance for you, if you're interested in linguistics, languages, language learning and translating, or if you are multilingual or polyglot. All languages are allowed to flourish on our timelines. And of course you're free to talk about anything else besides languages, too. Make this your personal home!