On 20/02/2011 12:48 PM, David Eddy wrote:
> John -
> On 2011-02-20, at 8:01 AM, John F. Sowa wrote:
>> And by the way, I'd like to make some comments about those
>> absurd "human-like" comments by journalists. The one Leo
>> cited was truly ridiculous:
> I've been having a hard time holding my lunch down with some of the
> stuff that's being written about Watson. What's a ruder word than
> "fawning?" Definition: "seek favor by groveling" is pretty rude.
> Might you, John, offer some historical perspective of how we've been
> through this before over the past 60 years.
> [What I describe here is likely to have some details missing or
> unintentionally embellished.]
> As I dimly remember, there was an IBM demonstration in the Madison
> Ave. office in maybe 1954 which "translated" Russian into English.
> There was evidently a LOT of HUZZAHs!!! about how with just a little
> more effort/money/technology and the machine translation problem
> would be solved.
> The background context of the time was the brunt of the Cold War...
> so it was received wisdom that if we had this machine translation
> magic, we'd have a serious leg up on those imagined fleets of
> intercontinental bombers. I remember picking up in high school
> stories about how "hydraulic ram" in Russian was translated into
> "water goat" in English.
> IBM& Georgetown University subsequently teamed up to move the ball
> In due course of time, the ALPAC report (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
> ALPAC) was issued& AI descended into the "AI winter."
> At the time I came across this history in August 2006, I'd just
> attended a MT conference in Cambridge, MA. One of the things that
> really struck me was that dear ol' Babblefish (the commercial remains
> of the Georgetown Project) was the giant in the industry at US$20M in
> revenues... after 50 years! (01)
I use Google Translate a lot to construct French translations from English.
It is not perfect but it is surprisingly good.
Text still needs to be reviewed and often problems in the clarity of the
original English need to be cleared up to get a sensible French version. (02)
Free as well so I guess you might call it a commercial failure. (03)
> David Eddy
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