translation headphones

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
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=language

7 Comments on translation headphones

  1. Jacquelyn Ward
    April 11, 2019 at 1:48 am (7 months ago)

    Kendall recognizes Adams’ acknowledgment that it is extremely challenging, if not impossible, to build a computer (or earbuds) that could translate “not just the raw vocabulary of language, but also the cultural baggage that goes with it.” Languages are culturally diverse and complex. It is awesome to imagine a system that could reliably translate words and meaning. This article reminded me of an episode of the This American Life podcast episode How I Read It (#663, December 7, 2018) which begins with the host, Ira Glass telling the story of InspiroBot, a web app that generates inspirational quotes. The software creators feed the program inspirational quotes that are commonly used and understood in society and then the “bot” generates something similar using the pattern of the language from the examples. The output is often hilariously offbeat but…as Glass comments, is kind of weirdly insightful also. Maybe using translation programs will create a whole new language, with its own idiosyncrasies.

    Reply
    • Plamen Miltenoff
      April 11, 2019 at 7:58 pm (7 months ago)

      So, Jacquelin, if you have the opportunity to lead a team charged with the implementation of such prototype (translation), where do you see yourself starting? HOw? Who you will hire to be on your team?

      Reply
      • Jacquelyn Ward
        May 1, 2019 at 2:23 pm (7 months ago)

        First, I can’t imagine myself with that opportunity. It would be awesome but my experience in this realm is so limited as of yet. For the sake of answering the question and possibly continuing the discussion, the first candidates that popped into my head as those I might want on such a team are:
        1. The Minnetonka High School graduates I recently read about who worked on the innovation project titled “Creating a Program to Test Emotion Recognition Using a Facial Image” for their research in creating the tiniest details of facial expression and the human emotion algorithm and their familiarity with exploring technology.
        2. A poet for their ability to integrate human emotion into concise, compact form
        3. A musical theater ASL interpreter for the ability to translate music, expression, and words.

        This is an interesting question and one that I will continue to ponder!

        Reply
  2. Jacquelyn Ward
    May 1, 2019 at 5:21 pm (7 months ago)

    First, I can’t imagine myself with that opportunity. It would be awesome but my experience in this realm is so limited as of yet. For the sake of answering the question and possibly continuing the discussion, the first candidates that popped into my head as those I might want on such a team are:
    1. The Minnetonka High School graduates I recently read about who worked on the innovation project titled “Creating a Program to Test Emotion Recognition Using a Facial Image” for their research in creating the tiniest details of facial expression and the human emotion algorithm and their familiarity with exploring technology.
    2. A poet for their ability to integrate human emotion into concise, compact form
    3. A musical theater ASL interpreter for the ability to translate music, expression, and words.

    This is an interesting question and one that I will continue to ponder!

    Reply
    • Plamen Miltenoff
      May 1, 2019 at 6:52 pm (7 months ago)

      Thanks Jacquelin! Can you share your the sources you are referring to?

      Reply

Leave a Reply