Machine Translation

"Martin J. Dürst" duerst at
Sat Sep 12 11:10:53 CEST 2009

Hello Michael,

On 2009/09/12 1:43, Michael Everson wrote:
> On 11 Sep 2009, at 11:13, Martin J. Dürst wrote:

>> Mostly just lookup, isn't it?
> No. You can have it process entire sentences.
> The red sun was high, the blue low.
> -->
> Die rote Sonne war hoch, das niedrige Blau.
> What do you have in your pocket?
> -->
> Was haben Sie in Ihrer Tasche?
> I assume the first one ought to have read "die niedrige blau", but the
> sentence is fairly literary. (It's science fiction.)

It should be "die blaue niedrig".

> There's nothing wrong with the second sentence however.

Standalone, it's correct. But in some contexts, it's wrong, and "Was 
hast Du in Deiner Tasche." is correct :-).

> I still don't see how our subtags, which describe language varieties,
> ought to be dragged into this arena. Compare
> <lang=de>Was haben Sie in Ihrer Tasche?</lang>
> and
> <lang=de-machine>Was haben Sie in Ihrer Tasche?</lang>
> There is no linguistic difference to be tagged. There was a process
> involved in getting to the second of the two sentences, but that is
> something else again.

For a case like the above, it's indeed difficult to see the purpose. But 
for all those many cases where there *are* differences, that's another 
matter (at least for the next few hundred years (an estimate on which we 
seem to agree), until machine translations catch up in general quality.

Regards,    Martin.

#-# Martin J. Dürst, Professor, Aoyama Gakuin University
#-#   mailto:duerst at

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