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Re: [Czechlist] Computer Aided Translation

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  • Melvyn Clarke
    Hi, ... Federation will have already colonized half of Delta Quadrant......... When they start hooking up the big corpora to translation programs plus enough
    Message 1 of 10 , Apr 1, 2000
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      Hi,

      >>>...damned computers that would be cheaper than any translator
      >would be.

      >>Hmmmm, it's happening, very slowly but surely.....

      >No way, Ray! At least not today...By the time they get that far, the
      Federation will have already colonized half of Delta Quadrant.........

      When
      they start hooking up the big corpora to translation programs plus enough
      firepower to do a
      rapid check on every single word against thousands of examples in context, I
      think even
      common collocations and idioms will be handled well enough to make the
      resulting text
      perfectly usable even though....

      >A translator has to take into account so many factors, from
      the dictionary definition, register, context, and specialized knowledge
      within a discipline (and whether the customer has passed the state exam in
      English)(or whether the potential readers will be native speakers who can be
      depended on to recongize the "right" term, or not)
      :)
      Sure sure.

      A lot of these discussions on MT seem to go along these lines, though:
      "Absurd, ridiculous, not in my lifetime!"
      <silence>
      "Aaargh, what am I going to do?????"

      Possible answers to Kostas' "just suppose for one moment" question?:
      Specialize.
      Get into the kind of consultation work that Kostas described in an
      interesting posting not
      long ago.
      Specialize some more.
      Teach ;-)

      As for fiction, I reckon that by 2030 the computers will be writing it,
      translating it, reviewing
      it and reading it. They will especially enjoy sleazy novels about illicit
      relations between digital
      and non-digital intelligence.

      >Don't hold your breath. Have you ever read machine translation
      output? It's occasionally good for a laugh but not much else.

      I was once helping a chap here to put together a radio programme on rock
      music from the
      '60s and '70s - explaining the lyrics, cultural background etc. It was
      awkward work because
      he seemed to think there was some esoteric meaning behind every
      "wobabaloobop" etc and
      wouldn't give me any peace until I explained it. "Ride a White Swan" by T
      Rex presented
      particular difficulties so I put it into my WinTran 3.0. several times back
      and forth until I
      achieved perfect equivalent effect, which is sometimes all that really
      matters...

      Melvyn

      P.S. Somebody across the pond PLEASE tell me, does Voyager make it back to
      Alpha Quadrant OK??? Has Kes (sigh) really been translated to a higher state
      of being for keeps or does she make a surprise comeback??

      P.P.S.

      >Is it warm enough yet for the patio at Na zvonarce? (One of the
      >places I miss more than the "monuments" in Prague....)
      >
      >Michael
      >
      They have promised us fifteen degrees tomorrow.
      Do I detect a note of wistfulness in your voice??:)
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    • Michael Grant
      ... Well, there s better beer to be found in the US than there was before I moved to Prague, but Sam Adams still doesn t stand up to Kozel, never mind
      Message 2 of 10 , Apr 3, 2000
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        >Do I detect a note of wistfulness in your voice??:)

        Well, there's better beer to be found in the US than there was before
        I moved to Prague, but Sam Adams still doesn't stand up to Kozel,
        never mind Dacicke....

        Michael

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      • Melvyn Clarke
        Just as an example: Web based B2B solutions ... Kostas, when you have a moment could you explain what this B2B stuff is? I ve never heard of it. Thanks. Melvyn
        Message 3 of 10 , Apr 4, 2000
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          Just as an example: Web based B2B solutions
          >will be localized. All these things are just in English today. In general,
          >Internet is stiil just in its early age, and localization of Internet
          >content will be growing and growing. In case of B2B (B2C), here we are
          >talking about very interactive solutions.

          Kostas, when you have a moment could you explain what this B2B stuff is?
          I've never heard of it. Thanks.

          Melvyn
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        • Dominik Lukes
          I sense a certain amount of apprehension in the group about computers and the future of translators. Have faith. I used to do CAT related research and I can
          Message 4 of 10 , Apr 4, 2000
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            I sense a certain amount of apprehension in the group about computers and
            the future of translators. Have faith. I used to do CAT related research and
            I can assure you that we (and probably our children as well) will all be
            happily retired by the time a system able to replace a human
            translator/interpreter. It definitely isn't just a matter of compiling huge
            databases of quivalents. They used to run a system in Canada (probably still
            do) to translate weather forceasts between English and French and after
            twenty years, they were still at only 95% reliability. And that is an
            extremely limited field. It also means that given a text made of 5 word
            sentences, one in twenty sentences would be wrong. A sure way to get a human
            translator fired.

            The most successful translating machines today, use some sort of stochastic
            engine, i.e. they don't just follow an algorithm but work on probabilities.
            But they are not nearly as successful as people think. Also, they only
            translate in 'perfect' conditions. Try faxing a third photocopy to a system
            like this and the text may as well be in Chinese.

            I recently did a paper on Computer Assisted Language Teaching and I quited
            the following from B. F. Skinner:

            "Will machines replace teachers? On the contrary, they are capital equipment
            to be used by teachers to save time and labor. In assigning certain
            mechanizable functions to machines, the teacher emerges in his proper role
            as an indispensable human being. He may teach more students than
            heretofore—this is probably inevitable if the worldwide demand for education
            is to be satisfied—but he will do so in fewer hours and with fewer
            burdensome chores. In return for his greater productivity he can ask society
            to improve his economic condition." (p. 55, The Technology of Teaching by B.
            F. Skinner, 1968, New York: Meredith Corporation. )

            The lesson to be learned: Computers will only replace teachers in the areas
            where they perform tasks in which they behave as computers, anyway.

            The same lesson applies to translators. Looking up words in dictionaries,
            checking usage in texts and compiling a list of equivalents are all
            extremely mechanical activities. Computers take us to a different level. A
            case in point: this list. Could you imagine ten years ago, that you could
            ask about 'priklepove vrtani' and get several responses within several
            hours? I was recently looking for Czech terminology of pastries and found
            three bakeries on the web that gave me all the terms I needed along with
            pictures. There is probably no field of human endeavor that doesn't at least
            have some sort of a primer on the web. This is how computers can make
            translators much more effective (and probably cut down their numbers) but
            fear of being replaced by a white box with a monitor is misplaced.

            Enough. Dominik
          • Radovan Pletka
            B2B = Bussiness 2(to) Bussiness (-: ... Radovan Pletka Czech and Slovak Services P.O.Box 11202 Burke, VA 22015, USA 703 323 6659 phone E-fax 561 423 8233
            Message 5 of 10 , Apr 4, 2000
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              B2B = Bussiness 2(to) Bussiness (-:



              At 12:51 PM 4/4/00 PDT, you wrote:
              >
              >
              >Just as an example: Web based B2B solutions
              >>will be localized. All these things are just in English today. In general,
              >>Internet is stiil just in its early age, and localization of Internet
              >>content will be growing and growing. In case of B2B (B2C), here we are
              >>talking about very interactive solutions.
              >
              >Kostas, when you have a moment could you explain what this B2B stuff is?
              >I've never heard of it. Thanks.
              >
              >Melvyn
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            • Otto Pacholik
              Dominik, I feel there is a common misunderstanding concerning what do the abbreviations CAT (computer aided translation) and MT (machine translation) or MAHT
              Message 6 of 10 , Apr 4, 2000
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                Dominik,

                I feel there is a common misunderstanding concerning what do the
                abbreviations CAT (computer aided translation) and MT (machine translation)
                or MAHT (machine-aided human translation) mean.

                CAT = this concerns very useful tool for technical translators - typically,
                it is an interface a some database (Access in case of DejaVu or proprietary
                formats in case of Trados, Transit, IBM TM). You can store your translations
                in such database and retrieve sentences or parts thereof as you translate
                similar text). This is extremely helpful and time saving. CAT will NEVER
                replace qualified translator it just helps him (sure, it can be misused as
                everything but this is another story). MAHT is used as an equivalent term
                for the CAT.

                MT = these tools are what translators are afraid of. After some 40 years of
                development these tools are still far from being tuned and you have surely
                seen some really "nice" examples of the capacities. The development of these
                tools was initiated in late 40' or early 50' by Pentagon when monitoring
                Russian communications during the Cold War. Despite all the ridiculous
                outputs MT tools maz be still useful in some cases (a user knows virtually
                nothing about the source language and he wishes to be informed, at least
                roughly, what the paper is about) and when used by professional translator
                may produce satisfactory results in some cases (I am always speaking about
                technical translations not about other areas).

                Otto
              • Dominik Lukes
                ... You re absolutely correct. The problem with these systems that only large translating agencies (like those translating hundreds of technical manuals) can
                Message 7 of 10 , Apr 5, 2000
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                  > CAT = this concerns very useful tool for technical translators -
                  > typically,
                  > it is an interface a some database (Access in case of DejaVu or
                  > proprietary
                  > formats in case of Trados, Transit, IBM TM). You can store your
                  > translations
                  > in such database and retrieve sentences or parts thereof as you translate
                  > similar text). This is extremely helpful and time saving. CAT will NEVER
                  > replace qualified translator it just helps him (sure, it can be misused as
                  > everything but this is another story). MAHT is used as an equivalent term
                  > for the CAT.
                  You're absolutely correct. The problem with these systems that only large
                  translating agencies (like those translating hundreds of technical manuals)
                  can afford them and are not likely to share them with the world at large.
                  What I was trying to draw attention to is that computers make life easier on
                  a much lower level (who would want to go back to the typewriter?) BTW: is
                  there anyone on the list who has worked with a CAT system?

                  Some of the Machine Translation systems on the web are indeed useful if you
                  want to get a gist of what the text is all about but they don't go too far
                  beyond word-for-word and just save you a lot of tedious work with the
                  dictionary. But to get a text of the same register, expressing the author's
                  intentions rather than words, you need a human. And will (do <-here's an
                  interesting Britishism) for many decades to come. I would wager that we will
                  never see an adequate system running on a computer as we know it. It will
                  take some form of neural computing or some such.

                  Dominik
                • Otto Pacholik
                  ... Yes, there is. I have been working with DejaVu for some 3 years and I can confirm I have earned a lot of money, thanks to this tool. I have also experience
                  Message 8 of 10 , Apr 5, 2000
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                    > BTW: is
                    > there anyone on the list who has worked with a CAT system?
                    Yes, there is. I have been working with DejaVu for some 3 years and I can
                    confirm I have earned a lot of money, thanks to this tool. I have also
                    experience with Trados and IBM TM.

                    If you are dealing mostly with the technical stuff you increase your output
                    by 20-30 percent when using CAT. This is no so bad, isn't it.
                    However, I would never use CAT to translate a book or a text without
                    repetitive sentences.

                    Otto
                  • Michael Grant
                    ... They ve gone down quite a bit--most of the leading packages (at least the individual versions) are well below $1000 now, and are no longer out of reach
                    Message 9 of 10 , Apr 5, 2000
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                      >You're absolutely correct. The problem with these systems that only large
                      >translating agencies (like those translating hundreds of technical manuals)
                      >can afford them and are not likely to share them with the world at large.

                      They've gone down quite a bit--most of the leading packages (at least
                      the "individual" versions) are well below $1000 now, and are no
                      longer out of reach for translators with a "western" clientele. I'm
                      told they pay for themselves pretty quickly if you do certain kinds
                      of repetitive text (which you receive in the form of electronic
                      files, not hard copy or fax).
                      Still haven't used one myself, unless you count WordFisher, but since
                      there basically aren't any for the Macintosh, I'm thinking of
                      eventually creating my own for the Mac market.

                      Michael

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                    • Zdenek_Bobek
                      Dear friends Otto thank you for the explanation of the abbreviations. You are right. MT - machine translation - is the tool we are afraid of. I would like to
                      Message 10 of 10 , Apr 5, 2000
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                        Dear friends

                        Otto
                        thank you for the explanation of the abbreviations.
                        You are right. MT - machine translation - is the tool we are afraid of.

                        I would like to say that we cannot prevent the programmers from making those
                        programs. In fact many of them enjoy dealing with the problem of MT.
                        Creating models of grammar and databases of words, phrases, and idioms is a
                        very interesting for many programmers and analysts. This work also helps us
                        to understand structure of languages, the way people speak, the way they
                        express their ideas nad feelings.
                        The MT programs will work better and better. I only hope the development
                        will not be too fast.

                        And the other side of the MT? I think we all saw many examples of
                        nonsensical sentences, funny expressions those programs generate. Has any of
                        you tried to show people selling those programs how useless they are? Two
                        years ago when I visited Invex Computer I met a guy who was testing those
                        programs entering czech texts like this: "Hele vole, skoc do knajpy pro dva
                        krigly a dotlac z masny trochu tlaci a nejakyho teplyho vovaru." The other
                        visitors were laughing and the sellers were very angry, saying their
                        programs are made only for "vazne preklady". The end of our profession will
                        come when there are programs translating texts about nuclear power stations
                        as well as texts of love letters or rock songs. I do not think this will
                        ever happen.

                        Zdenek


                        > Dominik,
                        >
                        > I feel there is a common misunderstanding concerning what do the
                        > abbreviations CAT (computer aided translation) and MT (machine
                        translation)
                        > or MAHT (machine-aided human translation) mean.
                        >
                        > CAT = this concerns very useful tool for technical translators -
                        typically,
                        > it is an interface a some database (Access in case of DejaVu or
                        proprietary
                        > formats in case of Trados, Transit, IBM TM). You can store your
                        translations
                        > in such database and retrieve sentences or parts thereof as you translate
                        > similar text). This is extremely helpful and time saving. CAT will NEVER
                        > replace qualified translator it just helps him (sure, it can be misused as
                        > everything but this is another story). MAHT is used as an equivalent term
                        > for the CAT.
                        >
                        > MT = these tools are what translators are afraid of. After some 40 years
                        of
                        > development these tools are still far from being tuned and you have surely
                        > seen some really "nice" examples of the capacities. The development of
                        these
                        > tools was initiated in late 40' or early 50' by Pentagon when monitoring
                        > Russian communications during the Cold War. Despite all the ridiculous
                        > outputs MT tools maz be still useful in some cases (a user knows virtually
                        > nothing about the source language and he wishes to be informed, at least
                        > roughly, what the paper is about) and when used by professional translator
                        > may produce satisfactory results in some cases (I am always speaking about
                        > technical translations not about other areas).
                        >
                        > Otto
                        >
                        >
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