OT: machine translation, or how German Schlagsahne wound up as "impact suspect"

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sat Feb 5 21:43:54 UTC 2005

>     All of which raises the question: Will machine translation ever
> become as reliable as human translators?

IMHO, yes. And soon (or sooner/already, depending on which program and
which human translators are compared).

But will it become perfect? No.

The same question was asked (and answered) about computerized
grandmaster-level chess not long ago.

Recently I tested an automated dictation system, like what Mark Mandel uses
maybe: after maybe 60 seconds of familiarization with my voice it
transcribed my speech, mostly correctly but with some absurd mistakes ...
very much as human typists do, in fact. Would it be a competitor for the
world's best human transcriptionist? No. Would it rival the ones you'll
actually get? Yes. Next year it'll be better, while the humans stay about
the same.

-- Doug Wilson

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