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Re: [ontolog-forum] History of Machine Translation?

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Sergei Nirenburg <sergei@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2011 17:31:47 -0500
Message-id: <D94AC519-4D62-4FA1-8B1D-F167BCE4E05A@xxxxxxxx>

On Feb 20, 2011, at 2:51 PM, John F. Sowa wrote:    (01)

>> 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.
> 1954 was when IBM began a partnership with the GAT project
> (Georgetown Automatic Translator), but I didn't think that they
> had anything to demonstrate that early.  IBM did have a large
> demo at the 1964 World's Fair of their Russian-English translator    (02)

Oh yes, they did have something to demonstrate. It was the famous
Georgetown experiment. See Hutchins's book on history of MT for
details. The journalists had a field day, one from New Yorker invented
the notorious "the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" joke. And the
reaction was probably more widespread than the one to Watson
(though we don't yet know how this will end). The good thing was
that this allowed some of the Soviet colleagues to persuade the
authorities to fund MT research there (sans computers, needless
to say - but that's another hilarious story).    (03)

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