Wednesday, October 20, 2010

machine translation, verse and worse

At the Guardian, we see that Google is to start translating poetry:

Who'd be a translator? By day you struggle with the German for "babbitt-lined bearing" (Weißmetallfutterlager, of course), by night you worry how you'll pay the bills. Online translation services such as Babel Fish may not be able to match you for nuance and naturalness, but they're a) instant, b) improving and c) free, free, free.

And now their creators are eyeing up the poetry market. According to Dmitriy Genzel, a Google software engineer, the internet's favourite one-stop shop is now working on the machine-translation of not just words, but meter and rhyme.

Remember Lewis Carroll's nonsense poem Jabberwocky? In 1931 the New Yorker's Frank L Warrin came up with a fantastic French version, Le Jaseroque. Here's what Google's existing offering, Google Translate, came up with when we asked it to turn that back into English: 

read the rest at the read that article along with "How Google understands language like a 10-year-old"

The algorithm's understanding of language "has moved from a 2-year-old infant to something close to an 8 or 10-year-old child," said Amit Singhal, a Google Fellow, an honorific reserved for the company's top engineers. "They're still not approaching the conversations you'd have as a teenager."

Read more at SFGate

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