2nd intl.workshop on FOSS rule-based machine translation

Yaron Shahrabani sh.yaron at gmail.com
Wed Jan 19 12:02:24 UTC 2011

On Wed, Jan 19, 2011 at 1:11 PM, Jesús Franco <tezcatl at fedoraproject.org>wrote:

> Yaron, thank you very much for your quick reply, i'll comment interleaving.
> Yaron Shahrabani wrote:
> > On Wed, Jan 19, 2011 at 10:28 AM, Jesús Franco
> > <tezcatl at fedoraproject.org>wrote:
> >> There is no doubt than machine automated translation is helping in the
> >> work of every translator at Fedora/FOSS at a large. But we shouldn't
> take
> >> for sure "Google is going better and better and i don't need to do
> >> anything after copypasting my strings for translation on it" as someone
> >> as said in the past.
> I use Google just marginally, when i'm not able to find a logic translation
> (done by another human), among shared TM in TAUS and maybe too in forums. I
> prefer quality on the translation sense over quantity over number of
> strings
> translated (unfortunately, i can't talk by other members of spanish
> translation team :S).
LOL, I share the same thought ☺.

I never ran into TAUS, is there a way to take advantage of it in Linux?

> > I think most of the efforts should be aimed at building Apertium
> corpuses.
> Unfortunately i think apertium is not packaged at Fedora, and in my own
> experience translating from English to Spanish it returns something like
> you
> call "stupid TM". Maybe i'm not getting the point, but my feeling about
> this
> is than machines are far of replacing people at this moment, whatever app
> you use.
Lack of training and rules, in TM you can train but you can't create rules.

> > The problem is that we can't build corpuses so easily, in order to create
> > a working corpus many hours of work are needed, if there was only a
> > simpler way of creating them and maintaining them using AI it would be
> > great (or even creating a graphical tool to aid in this mission).
> My thought about the sharing ideas come from my own experience using
> virtaal
> which lets me access to my own TM. Domingo Becker has come with a thought
> about connecting his translation app to Google or something kinda much the
> same.
I truly hope I could contribute back to Google or Microsoft, although I
don't have control over it.
How about improving open-tran.eu so we can train it? Isn't it a much better
Open-Tran.eu is really low on resources so we can't acheive something like
this with the current instance of Open-Tran.eu, also I think users should
have the ability to vote on certain translation, this way their statistical
significance will be AIed as well...
Virtaal 0.7.0 b2 supports open-tran.eu (a bug in previous versions prevented
us from using it).

> > Building "stupid" TMs with statistical data can be sometimes false and
> > they need lots of AI to get better, building good corpuses with the right
> > rules for every language will help computers understand human language in
> > source and destination languages.
> I think we are talking about different directions. I don't believe
> computers
> can understand the obscure corners of a whole human language soon. But i'm
> pretty sure people is not so stupid than machines if they try to do their
> best. This is why i'm talking about sharing TM among people, not CPUs.
I'm all into sharing TMs but I think that without defining rules you are
just generalizing between languages instead of sharing rules and corpuses,
training an app to understand your language gramatically so the app can
decompose your words and sentences and then recontruct them into another
language is a much cleaner job, althouth we cannot add sarcasm or context to
the source sentence we can make the computer understand the grammatical
structure of words and sentences instead of statisctically guessing.

> > I want to present you with a problem I had with translating text from
> > Arabic to Hebrew, Google's mechanism is doing the following procedure:
> > Translated the Arabic text to English, English is then translated to
> > Hebrew, You can't even possible imagine how strong is the phrase "Lost in
> > translation" in this case.
> Imagine what could be happened if a "translator" has taken that result just
> "because is Google". That's exactly my point.
Due to a lack of translation resources (for computing and technical
documentation mostly) most kiddies find themselves using Google as a
translator without fixing the results, the outcome is an incomprehensible
app or doc.

> > BTW, Microsoft translator does much better job than Google's translator
> > when translating from English to Hebrew.
> I can't have an idea about that, i use and promote just free (as in
> freedom)
> software. It's not about "morality", it's just i can't suggest to a fellow
> translator "buy this software" (whatever provider he/she can through).
Its free and supported by Virtaal: http://www.microsofttranslator.com/
Same deal with Google.

> > Hebrew and Arabic share basic rules, instead of using English in the
> > middle we can use a mechanism that will take advantage of their
> > similarities to translate between them without going through 3rd
> language.
> > Same for Czech and Slovak, apparently many Czech translators are using
> the
> > Slovak translation instead of translating from English and vice versa.
> I think the same about Português (and even more Catalá) "twins" languages
> of
> Castilian (Spanish), it would be easier to work among similar languages,
> than putting english in the middle. Actually that wicked idea is the
> "official" approach in Fedora for guides written in a language other than
> english, translating first to en_US and from there to another languages.
That's generalizing but using the same idea for translation just leads to a
bad translation.
Languages share certain rules that are lost while translated to each other.
Portuguese, Spanish, Catalan and Italian can all share corpuses and rules
that you cannot acheive by translating using English in the middle, even in
a cultural aspect.

> Maybe we should stay using english as a common language, but i'm sure than
> for brazilian and catalan people its easier to understand me in my mother
> language than through a machine smashing my words in a statistical based
> software.
> > Apertium website: http://www.apertium.org/
> I'm going to apertium site if there are new ideas i can get through there.

> > Kind regards,
> > Yaron Shahrabani
> >
> > <Hebrew translator>
> Thanks for sharing your vision about this.
> Best regards.
> --
> Jesús Franco - Fedora Ambassador and Translator
> http://identi.ca/tzk
> --
> trans mailing list
> trans at lists.fedoraproject.org
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