Language Log Twelve Years Later #5: Machine translation methods

My main linguistics essay for the 2015/16 fall term was about assorted methods of machine translation, and why they all suck (and why this is, sadly, pretty much an unavoidable problem, and I’m not sure how even humans manage).

Modern translation methods used, e.g., by Google are essentially statistical (figure out how this phrase was translated previously, then use that); this seems to be basically an early stage of this very thing. (Did Google Translate even exist by July 2003? I know its adoption of statistical methods was much later.)
[Apparently not; they started out in 2006, and adopted statistical methods in 2007. The big online translator as of July 30, 2003 was AltaVista BabelFish – which was actually already owned by Yahoo by then but not officially renamed until several years later.]

I wanted to post the modern Google translation of this Arabic text, but I could not find the original Arabic anywhere. (It seems to be a news article, apparently from the late 1990s, but I couldn’t find the original news article either.)

There shouldn’t be a comma in “will take off Wednesday morning”, incidentally.


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