Monday, April 6, 2009   4:22 AM

Machine Translation: Not Up To It Yet

It looks like Tesco is not the only global concern based in an English-speaking nation which can't list excellence in its native language amongst its core competencies.

Sign in McDonalds near Bunkamura, Shibuya, Tokyo

Still, at least it's fairly easy to work out what the original Japanese version said. 

Posted in Engrish
I don't know too much about programming translators. But do you think that it will be possible to eventually create a perfect J <-> E algorithm? It seems like the structure of both languages are just way too off to do it...
Posted by: Prometheus | 2009-04-06 02:50
I don't think it will be possible to create reliable algorithm-based translation for any language combination (unles the languages are very similar and the translation is more a case of transformation). A large part of the translation process depends on understanding the broader context of the source text, which would require some sort of true artificial intelligence.
Posted by: ThePenguin | 2009-04-06 03:39
Cool, that was what I was thinking. A lot of european lanaguages are nearly identical in terms of grammar so maybe you could do a straight transformation and a little bit of tidying up.

But as you said, the fact you need an understanding of the context and some common sense makes Japanese pretty tricky.
Posted by: Prometheus | 2009-04-06 05:28
What else is in the basement?
Posted by: Tom | 2009-04-10 08:38
explain functions of translators in programming
Posted by: RECHAEL | 2010-02-23 10:11
It does indeed seem that the Universal Translator remains the domain of those species who have Warp Drive, Transporters, and Tractor Beams...
Posted by: John W. Click | 2010-03-10 21:06