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156367Re: Computerized translation into conlang?

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  • David Vercauteren
    Dec 1, 2008
      2008/11/26 Gary Shannon <fiziwig@...>

      > Has anybody ever given any thought to writing a computer program to
      > translate English into a conlang?


      I am pretty sure *lots* of people have given it lots of thought already, but
      I seriously doubt anything really useful has already come out of it. I have
      once been thinking of it, but for natural languages (where such a thing
      would be way more useful, since that promotes understanding between humans
      instead of taking away the fun of translating things into your own
      language), and I gave up when realising the messiness of languages. Things
      that are expressed using some structure in one language often use completely
      different structures in other languages. Just take the following example:
      Dutch: We hebben de kosten in het totaal verrekend.
      English: We have taken the expenses into account when making the total sum.
      A computer translation in the way you propose would give at best: "We have
      ### the expenses into the total sum," where the ### have to be a verb
      meaning covering the meanings of both "inserting the one into the other" and
      of "computing, making the sum". Such a verb does not (as far as I know)
      exist in English, so that circumlocution is the only solution. I don't think
      anybody has ever made a computer program smart enough to get that kind of
      ideas.


      > Anyway, just a random thought. It might be fun. It would be a way to
      > produce a huge volume of works in that conlang, like translating the
      > complete works of Shakespeare in an afternoon. :)


      Most probably writing a sufficiently good program would take infinitely more
      time that translating it all by hand. Now and then my colleagues at work
      send mails, with translations in English (for our English-speaking
      colleagues) using computer translation. We always have a good laugh. That's
      probably most benefit one gets from machine translation nowadays... :-)

      Greets
      David

      --
      Idustvok va yentelkvil gifpir, puk gifpir, ivan kitil.
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