[sword-devel] using Google translate or machine translation

Matthew Patenaude mnglfiddle at gmail.com
Wed Sep 29 19:06:17 MST 2010

> Message: 4
> Date: Thu, 30 Sep 2010 01:11:38 +0300
> From: Caleb Maclennan <caleb at alerque.com>
> To: "SWORD Developers' Collaboration Forum"
>        <sword-devel at crosswire.org>
> Subject: Re: [sword-devel] question regarding Android front end
> Message-ID:
>        <AANLkTin8y=UWKsfWWWPNeRT3RKy-CgQe2LbR9oREg8Qp at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
> On Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 15:53, Martin Denham <mjdenham at gmail.com> wrote:
> >... has proposed doing a translation of all languages using a Google tool
> > but I don't know how well the Google tool would handle Chinese
> I haven't seen the original discussion context that this comment
> references, but having had some experience in the area of translated
> software I wanted to make a comment about the viability of machine
> translation for software interfaces:
> Forget about how well it handles or doesn't handle Chinese -- for
> which there is undoubtedly a large corpus of documents and hand fixed
> translations to at least give it a fighting chance -- but this is a
> crazy idea for many minority languages more recently introduced to the
> world of machine translation. I've seen some software interfaces that
> were obviously done this way and they are the subject of nothing but
> ridicule even if the base software might have been a good thing.
> I love Google Translate and their various language tools, but let's
> put the effort into finding local translators before throwing software
> out there!
> Caleb

Caleb is exactly correct here. As useful as some of these tools are under
limited circumstances, they cannot substitute human translation. There is
just too big an element of language that does not conform to logical
patterns. There are logical patterns in language, which allows language to
work in the first place, but much of language then works outside of these
bounds, creating a nightmare for trying to machine translate anything - all
the hype not withstanding...

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