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Re: Computerized translation into conlang?

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  • Benct Philip Jonsson
    ... Wouldn t the ease of such a task stand in proportion to how different the source language s grammar is from English? Seeing how lousy Google Translate
    Message 1 of 6 , Dec 1, 2008
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      On 2008-11-26 Gary Shannon wrote:
      > In other words, I now have a program that pretty
      > successfully pulls apart an English sentence and
      > represents it as separate elements that could now be
      > reassembled in any arbitrary fashion. It would be an easy
      > matter at this point to reassemble the pieces using
      > different root words, add case endings, provide a
      > different means of conjugating verbs, etc., and produce a
      > "translation" of the sentence.
      >

      Wouldn't the ease of such a task stand in proportion
      to how different the source language's grammar is from
      English? Seeing how lousy Google Translate performs
      on turning English definite noun phrases into Swedish
      has restored my old pessimism WRT machine translation
      and reassured me that I won't be put out of work by a
      computer anytime soon. (Howovor GT performs better when
      goinc from Swedish to English...)

      /BP
    • Lars Mathiesen
      ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distributed_Language_Translation -- Lars
      Message 2 of 6 , Dec 1, 2008
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        2008/11/26 Gary Shannon <fiziwig@...>:
        > Has anybody ever given any thought to writing a computer program to translate English into a conlang?

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distributed_Language_Translation

        --
        Lars
      • David Vercauteren
        2008/11/26 Gary Shannon ... I am pretty sure *lots* of people have given it lots of thought already, but I seriously doubt anything really
        Message 3 of 6 , Dec 1, 2008
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          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.
        • Gary Shannon
          ... Machine translation seems to be one of those areas where, when first approached, it looks like it would not be terribly difficult. Then, a little deeper
          Message 4 of 6 , Dec 1, 2008
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            --- On Mon, 12/1/08, David Vercauteren <njenfalgar@...> wrote:

            > From: David Vercauteren <njenfalgar@...>
            ...

            > 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

            Machine translation seems to be one of those areas where, when first approached, it looks like it would not be terribly difficult. Then, a little deeper into the project you suddenly hit an impenetrable brick wall, and any further progress seems impossibly difficult.

            "When one initially examines some area of the syntax of a natural language, it often seems to manifest what can only be called descriptive chaos." --Paul M. Postal in "Edge-Based Model-Theoretic Syntax".

            --gary
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