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Google translate in Latin Options
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Monday, January 31, 2011 1:36:33 PM

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Google has finally added Latin in their translator, marked as Alpha so far.
Just tested it with some basic, familiar Finnish and English words, seemed to work well.


In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.
excaelis
Posted: Monday, January 31, 2011 1:42:10 PM

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Great ! Where the hell were they when I was massacring Ovid in school !

Sanity is not statistical
SandraM
Posted: Tuesday, February 01, 2011 5:38:05 AM
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excaelis wrote:
Where the hell were they when I was massacring Ovid in school !

I don't want to be a killjoy but if Google translate really did work in Latin (or any other language) it would mean that a computer were more intelligent than you, excaelis.
Somehow, I strongly doubt the singularity is upon us, computers are as smart as humans and the machines are plotting to overthrow their masters. I do love the script when Keanu Reeves is involved, though ;-).
cassandra
Posted: Tuesday, February 01, 2011 6:00:43 AM

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Somehow I think that Google could do better than some of my early translations... once I wrote that a man moved from his land because of the weather, than found a big bronze horse - I wasn't exactly clear on the "how did he find it?" - with doors IN the bricks. d'oh!

Of course the real story was that he fell down into some sort of crack in the earth (that opened up because of the heavy rain) and found a big bronze horse which had two doors on its sides... Not my finest hour. Still better than my best friend who wrote that the Romans kidnapped the Sabine ... men... XD
SandraM
Posted: Wednesday, February 02, 2011 5:29:00 AM
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@Cassandra
Latin students can indeed write horrors (I know I did when I was one and my pupils certainly did too when I was a teacher, horresco referens) but in a unmistakable human way ;-).
Google Translate can hardly do more than copypaste translations of words found in a dictionary database one after the other. Or recycle an already existing translation discovered in the little nooks and corners of the web.
cassandra
Posted: Wednesday, February 02, 2011 9:53:08 AM

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You're absolutely right SandraM, but that's true for any language. Google can be easily used with single words but if you ask for the translation of a full sentence... good luck!

As for horrors in student's translations... latin is nothing compared to ancient greek. Been there, done both, wrote things so outrageous that you could have found them into a Dalì painting.
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Wednesday, February 02, 2011 11:25:04 AM

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Google translate between Finnish and English has given me many good laughs. I'll have to test this Latin Alpha with some longer examples, et tendo sicco utrinque translation ;-)


In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.
thar
Posted: Wednesday, February 02, 2011 5:26:16 PM

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The thing about Latin is surely, whatever you say, it might be right. It is not like the native speakers are going to come along and say, "no, that is not how the word is colloquially used, it sounds wrong".

and then there is the old problem : Britannican Latin versus Armenian Latin...
SandraM
Posted: Thursday, February 03, 2011 6:05:00 AM
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thar wrote:
The thing about Latin is surely, whatever you say, it might be right. It is not like the native speakers are going to come along and say, "no, that is not how the word is colloquially used, it sounds wrong".

Sure, no letter written in green ink by Caesar and co but I strongly doubt Google can even handle the subtleties of declension.

thar wrote:
Britannican Latin versus Armenian Latin...

I am confused. How do you mean Armenian Latin? Or British Latin?

@Cassandra
Of course, I meant Google translate was doomed to be bad with any language, not just Latin. I thought it was so clear that I despised the thing I didn't need to specify that my contempt was universal and not Latin-oriented only ;-).
GreenSleeves
Posted: Thursday, February 03, 2011 6:08:04 PM
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cassandra wrote:
You're absolutely right SandraM, but that's true for any language. Google can be easily used with single words but if you ask for the translation of a full sentence... good luck!

As for horrors in student's translations... latin is nothing compared to ancient greek. Been there, done both, wrote things so outrageous that you could have found them into a Dalì painting.

I was once asked (please help us improve,..translation from French)..the story of a woman dining out with friends, who was handed (la note) by the waiter, Google's translation; she recieved a bill of Law.
GreenSleeves
Posted: Thursday, February 03, 2011 6:12:55 PM
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Jyrkkä Jätkä wrote:
Google has finally added Latin in their translator, marked as Alpha so far.
Just tested it with some basic, familiar Finnish and English words, seemed to work well.

Not far from; Alef,Beth. (Arabic and Hebrew)
jeff.hull
Posted: Friday, April 29, 2011 8:58:39 PM
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SandraM wrote:
@Cassandra
I don't want to be a killjoy but if Google translate really did work in Latin (or any other language) it would mean that a computer were more intelligent than you, excaelis.
and later
Google Translate can hardly do more than copypaste translations of words found in a dictionary database one after the other. Or recycle an already existing translation discovered in the little nooks and corners of the web.


How can I put this gently? Would you be willing to allow me to update your understanding of what computers are and are not?

Computers today are not in the least intelligent and, although many have hopes that in the future they may or will be (intelligent) it is not likely to be in your lifetime or mine. Computers are excellent bookkeepers and they can execute detailed procedures quickly and with far fewer errors than a human being. They have little or no tolerance for any imprecision or incompleteness in their procedure definitions. They will execute an incorrect or destructive procedure just as quickly and efficiently as a correct, beneficial one. To err is human; to really screw things up, just use a computer.

That said, if we (human) programmers and analysts write the appropriate program and put all the various forms (e.g., cases for nouns, declensions for verbs, etc) of each word into the dictionary, then computers can recognize these different forms as distinct but related. Additional programming (language rules) can be prepared to direct the computer how to assemble the various clauses of the source language into grammatical structures and yet additional programming (language translation rules) can direct the computer to copy that grammatical structure into the grammatical structure of the target language and match the root word from the source language into the most appropriate root word of the target language.

All of this is not only possible, it has been done. More years ago than I care to admit, I was a programmer on just such a project. The source and target languages were Russian and English. The translator was required to be 2-way. My own horror story was running the following English phrase through the translator to get Russian and then running that phrase through the translator to get English. The phrase? "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." The result: "The vodka is strong but the beef is spoiled." On technical manuals, however, the translator was quite good.

I don't know if we will ever get machine translation adequate to translate poetry or to flirt successfully or to handle highly idiomatic or colloquial language. And I am presently looking, with little success, for a machine-based English-Latin translator adequate for first-reading of technical and non-colloquial material. But it is not only possible; it has been done.
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Friday, April 29, 2011 9:53:21 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/21/2009
Posts: 40,038
Neurons: 308,252
Location: Helsinki, Southern Finland Province, Finland
Google translator is human-aided, like Wikipedia
When you see a wrong translation you can suggest a better one.
So, it gets better, piece after piece, but never complete.
Just don't even think about sentences ;-)


In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.
SandraM
Posted: Saturday, April 30, 2011 5:56:03 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/11/2009
Posts: 399
Neurons: 1,454
jeff.hull wrote:


How can I put this gently? Would you be willing to allow me to update your understanding of what computers are and are not?

Computers today are not in the least intelligent and, although many have hopes that in the future they may or will be (intelligent) it is not likely to be in your lifetime or mine. Computers are excellent bookkeepers and they can execute detailed procedures quickly and with far fewer errors than a human being. They have little or no tolerance for any imprecision or incompleteness in their procedure definitions. They will execute an incorrect or destructive procedure just as quickly and efficiently as a correct, beneficial one. To err is human; to really screw things up, just use a computer.

That said, if we (human) programmers and analysts write the appropriate program and put all the various forms (e.g., cases for nouns, declensions for verbs, etc) of each word into the dictionary, then computers can recognize these different forms as distinct but related. Additional programming (language rules) can be prepared to direct the computer how to assemble the various clauses of the source language into grammatical structures and yet additional programming (language translation rules) can direct the computer to copy that grammatical structure into the grammatical structure of the target language and match the root word from the source language into the most appropriate root word of the target language.

All of this is not only possible, it has been done. More years ago than I care to admit, I was a programmer on just such a project. The source and target languages were Russian and English. The translator was required to be 2-way. My own horror story was running the following English phrase through the translator to get Russian and then running that phrase through the translator to get English. The phrase? "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." The result: "The vodka is strong but the beef is spoiled." On technical manuals, however, the translator was quite good.

I don't know if we will ever get machine translation adequate to translate poetry or to flirt successfully or to handle highly idiomatic or colloquial language. And I am presently looking, with little success, for a machine-based English-Latin translator adequate for first-reading of technical and non-colloquial material. But it is not only possible; it has been done.


Thank you so much for being gentle and consider me enlightened about computers. But what is it exactly that you are saying? That Google translate was already developped during the cold war by programmers among which you were in your youth?
I beg to differ because I think the whole world would know it by now. Except if you go for the super NSA computer genius crack team theory.
That computers aren't intelligent but good at executing very quickly and very efficiently a set of instructions? My point exactly.
That we don't have at the moment a machine which can translate poetry, because while computers can handle syntax and morphology, they fail to grasp meaning, context, etc, because, as you said, they aren't intelligent? As I said, my point exactly.
So, this discussion is getting a little circular.
Executive summary of my post, and possibly of yours, except if I have completely misunderstood you, which is always possible:
If you want to have a vague understanding of what a short text says (and it can be really useful), use Google translate or any other such machine translation.
If you want a text that makes sense and to know actually which plug goes into which socket in a technical manual, get yourself a human.
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