Google’s translation headphones are here, and they’re going to start a war
Douglas Adams’ in-ear translator from Hitchhiker’s Guide is becoming a reality. But knowing what people are really saying could be disastrous.
Shuly Wintner, associate professor of computer science at the University of Haifa, quotes an early example of computer mistranslation in his 2005 introduction to computational linguistics. “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak,” was put through Altavista into Russian, he says. “The vodka is excellent but the meat is lousy” may well have been true, but it almost certainly wasn’t what the writer was looking for.
more on languages in this IMS blog