Tuesday, November 27, 2007

How to advertise machine translation (not)

I saw an ad for a machine translation system and thought it would be interesting to try it out. Machine translation is supposed to be getting better and better as it makes ever more sophisticated use of statistical algorithms, making it more effective than free methods like Babelfish. So I tried translating a paragraph at the program's website. The instructions read:

1)Enter your Source Text (up to approx. 500 words)
2)Select the Source & Target languages from the drop down [sic]
3)Select the dictionary & formality for the translation
4)Press Translate'
5)After 5 translations you will be asked to register, this is free and provides you with a 14 day trial of XXXXX award winning software.

Here is the result, and here is the result of running the text through Babelfish. Can you tell which is which?
The space between stars is not empty; in him there is tenuous matter, formed by a mixture of gas and solid particles, mainly hydrogen and helium, and dust particles, which can be cold, it warms up, or very hot. This matter forms giant clouds, that can be cloudy dark cloudy brilliants or. First they can be of emission (they are fed on the near star energy and they return it to emit) or of reflection (they only reflect the light of stars that is near them); the dark nebulas form of colder and dense gas, and block the light of the stars that are behind them; this way its presence is detected. From the very cold gas mixture and little dust is the molecular gas. Of this one new stars can be formed: the cloud begins to be contracted, helped by the mutual attraction of the particles that form it; the density of the part of the cloud that undergoes this call gravitational collapse increases until it consists of a very dense nucleus that will form a star.
The space between stars is not empty; in him there is tenuous matter, formed by a mixture of gas and solid particles, mainly hydrogen and helium, and dust particles, which can be cold, it warms up, or very hot. This matter forms giant clouds, that can be cloudy dark cloudy brilliants or. First they can be of emission (they are fed on the near star energy and they return it to emit) or of reflection (they only reflect the light of stars that is near them); the dark nebulas form of colder and dense gas, and block the light of the stars that are behind them; this way its presence is detected. From the very cold gas mixture and little dust is the molecular gas. Of this one new stars can be formed: the cloud begins to be contracted, helped by the mutual attraction of the particles that form it; the density of the part of the cloud that undergoes this call gravitational collapse increases until it consists of a very dense nucleus that will form a star.

Right. Then I noticed the not-so-small print at the bottom of the XXXXX website: “Note that this is ‘Raw’ Machine Translation and does not represent XXXXX ‘Next Generation’ Machine Translation Quality.” I guess you have to at least register for the trial period if you want to actually see what the program can do.

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1 Comments:

At January 22, 2009 10:37 AM, Anonymous helkka said...

I do not like machine translation at all. And there are several reasons for this:
1) pure quality
2) the context is not taken into consideration
3) no sense of language

 

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