Statistical machine translation
- My main day job is as a statistician and I have an interest in the emerging technology of statistical machine translation (SMT).
SMT works based on probabilities and associations between words and phrases in two parallel corpora of text. Unlike earlier approaches, it doesn't try to represent or 'understand' the meaning of text. Google Language switched to SMT in 2006, and virtually overnight achieved noticeably better results.
While certainly no substitute for human translation, SMT does supply a convenient way to generate first drafts of material not previously translated into English. So far it appears that nobody has used this for Latin -> English translation, or for, say, ancient Greek to English.
I'm especially interested in Latin -> English translation and am casually checking around to see if there are any initiatives underway by institutions or university departments to do this.
Meanwhile, I performed a little experiment: below is a Google translation, Spanish -> English, of Diotima's speech in Symp 348f. The Spanish came from the translation of Patricio de Azcárate, 1871-2.
I'll let others judge for themselves how good a job the machine translator did. Personally I'm not concerned about minor grammatical errors, or even more substantial errors here and there; for me the goal would be to produce an approximate translation, not something publishable:
"Perhaps, Socrates, I have started up in the mysteries of love, but in the last degree of initiation and secret revelations more, for everything I just said is just a preparation, I do not know if even well-managed, may your spirit soar to them. I, however, continue to be warm without my zeal. Try to follow as best you can.
Anyone who wants to seek that purpose by the true path, from her youth must begin to look for beautiful bodies. You must also, if well managed, a just love, and in the breed and produce beautiful speeches. Then must come to understand that the beauty that is in any body, is the sister of the beauty that is found in all. Indeed, if it is necessary to seek beauty in general, would be a great folly not to believe that the beauty that dwells in all bodies is one and the same. Once entered this thinking, our man must stand lover of all beautiful bodies, cleansed, and a negligible smallness of any passion that reconcentre on one. Then consider the beauty of the soul more precious than the body, so that a beautiful soul, even in a body devoid of perfections, it is sufficient to attract their love and care, and to eat more in her own speeches youth to do better. Following the case, will necessarily
 led to contemplate the beauty that lies in the actions of men and laws, to see that this beauty is everywhere identical with itself, and therefore of little Body beauty. The actions of men should go to science to see the beauty in them, and then, taking a broader view of beauty, not be chained like a slave in the strait love the beauty of a young man, a man or a single action, but cast into the ocean of beauty, and spreading their views on this show, produced by the inexhaustible fertility greatest speeches and thoughts of philosophy until, insured and magnified by his spirit is sublime contemplation, receives only a science, of beauty.
Lend now, Socrates, all the attention that you are able. In which the mysteries of love is raised to the point where we are, after having traveled in all grades should order what is beautiful and, finally, after the initiation, perceived as a flash a great beauty, that Socrates oh!, which was the object of all their previous work; beauty eternal, uncreated and imperecible-free growth and decline, that beauty is not beautiful in this part and in any other ugly, beautiful only in such time and in that other, under a beautiful and ugly in another, in such a beautiful place and ugly in any other, for these beautiful and ugly for those, that beauty is nothing sensitive as the face or hands, or body of anything; Nor is this science or the discourse, that is not anywhere to be different from herself, in an animal, for example, or on earth or in heaven, or something else, but there is eternal and utterly alone itself and in itself, it involves all the other
beauties, without birth or destruction of the tire or the lower or decrease the
 in those smaller increase or alter in any way. When the beauty than had been raised through an understanding of love young people, to the perfect beauty, and you begin to interview, almost at the end is reached, because the path of love, and be guided by himself, and be guided by another, is to begin by the beauty and much less the supreme beauty, passing, as it were, for all grades of the scale of one to two beautiful body, two to all others, the beautiful bodies occupations to the beautiful, the beautiful science occupations fine, until scientists in science will come to the science par excellence, which is none other than the science of beauty itself, and concludes by knowing as it does . Oh, my dear Socrates! Continued foreign Mantinea if something has merit for this life is the contemplation of absolute beauty, and if she gets one day to achieve what you seem, it matched with the gold and ornaments, children and young beautiful beautiful, as
you view this crowd and love to the point that you and many others, do not cease to love, to be endlessly with them, if this possible, privaríais you like to eat and drink, and pasaríais and contemplating life treating continuously? What do we think of a man who was given the beauty pure, simple, unmixed, not coated or colored meat human vanities and other perishable, but it is the divine beauty? Do you think it would be an unfortunate luck to have their eyes fixed on it and enjoy the friendship and contemplation of such an object? Do not think, however, that this man is the only one who sees this world as beautiful, by the body to perceive itself, you can create, no images of virtue, since it does not bind to images, but real virtues, because that is the truth which is enshrined? However, only the food it produces and
 represents the true virtue of being loved by God, and if a man should be immortal, it is surely this."