Translation is hard.

So when computers try to translate text automatically, the results can be hilarious or tragic. But improvements are on the horizon. How does machine translation work, and can humans and computers work together?

Linguist Daniel Midgley gets lost in translation on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with James Hall


Show notes

Deaf community concerned over proposed changes to television captioning requirements
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-01/deaf-community-concerned-over-proposed-changes-to-captioning-re/5859636

Video: How closed captioning is done
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9x0jVg_294g

More video: How closed captioning works
http://frontrow.espn.go.com/2011/10/how-closed-captioning-works/

CDZA with “Fresh Prince: Google Translated”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMkJuDVJdTw

“Let It Go” from Frozen according to Google Translate (PARODY) by Malinda Kathleen Reese
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bVAoVlFYf0

/pol/ discovers the wonders of Google Translate
http://www.reddit.com/r/4chan/comments/2jk2qo/pol_discovers_the_wonders_of_google_translate/

4chan’s /pol/ learns to speak Somali (Warning: possible racism)
http://i.imgur.com/8INRREI.jpg

Try your own Somali “translations”
https://translate.google.com/#so/en/

Here’s what Somali is really like
http://www.omniglot.com/language/phrases/somali.php

Thirteen really untranslatable words
http://specgram.com/CLXX.3/07.covarrubias.untranslatable.html

Seen on Wall Street: “No more corruption” —> “There is no corruption”
http://www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2014/06/computer-aided-translation

Somali has a complicated morphology
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somali_language#Morphology

History of machine translation
http://www.smartling.com/blog/2012/04/20/a-brief-history-of-machine-translation/

Stanford system combines software with human intelligence to improve translation
http://news.stanford.edu/news/2014/october/translate-human-machine-10-29-14.html

Spence Green’s EMNLP paper (PDF)
http://www.spencegreen.com/pubs/green+wang+chuang+heer+schuster+manning.emnlp14.pdf

Macquarie’s Aussie Word of the Week
https://www.macquariedictionary.com.au/resources/view/word/of/the/week/

“Dibs”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dibs

“Riding shotgun”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riding_shotgun


Show tunes

‘Failures’ by Joy Division
from the album Substance

‘All Mine’ by Portishead
from the album Portishead