Friday, February 13, 2015

First glance at GT efforts, 2-13-15

I started with Korean and Spanish (see below), because I know a little of these languages, and can judge where GT has fallen short. There is no question that Korean is incredibly garbled compared to Spanish, and it's aggravated by the fact that of course we want to read anything anyone says about "50 Shades of Gray". But where did GT go wrong? The problem is that the grammar of each language is so different that even the essence of the sentence is lost, and we can no longer use it to anchor our understanding and piece the rest of it together.

By the way I had no intention of making any of this racy, and I don't believe it is, as it is simply Korean daily newspaper fare, an interview with people involved in the making of the movie. If you are intimidated by the fact that the movie is about sex, and you have no clue what these people are saying about it, rest assured: it's like any other movie review, except that it's the actors themselves who (as far as I can figure) are weighing in on its making.

To get back to the translations: this 2015 translation appears to be better than a 2013 version which could not even separate words so well and which also had wide swaths of incomprehensible blabber. This 2015 interview is still virtually incomprehensible, although I find that if I read it several times I begin to make sense of it. The ironic thing is that I believe the actors answered the original questions in English, but the reporters put the story in Korean; that, when re-translated back to English, is already so far from where you can make sense of it, that it would be virtually useless to an English learner.

The second Korean article I find is better than the first, more comprehensible in general, but to really understand the article, it all comes down to a single sentence that would explain what kind of deal these airlines had. And, unfortunately, GT messed up that key sentence.

By the way I took one terrible sentence: "Delicate and has a reputation as a seductive expression female director Sam Taylor Johnson while I take on production expectations increased further" - and I pasted it into a Ginger Software window; it couldn't find any grammatical or spelling errors. It obviously wasn't checking to make sure it made sense, or was constructed in any kind of standard way. It suggests to me that asking machines to look at a sentence globally for some kind of overall understanding is too much. They're ok at a word level. If you can use the words to put it together (which you can, after about four readings) - then you begin to be able to use GT to read Korean newspapers. I would not use GT to construct English sentences, though. If our students are doing that, then, somebody is sending them back to "Go"....(so to speak)


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