A Translator that Actually Works
It's a fact: Computers have always sucked at translation. If you have ever used the Babelfish online translation service, you'll understand what I mean right away. Fortunately, things may soon change thanks to a New York based firm named "Meaningful Machines".
LANGUAGE TRANSLATION is a tricky problem, not only for a piece of software but also for the human mind. A single word in one language, for example, may map into three or more in another. Carbonell likes to cite bank, with its utterly divergent uses for the place you keep your money, the edge of a river, and what an airplane might do. Then there are the dramatic differences in grammar and structure across languages. Arabic, for example, uses very little punctuation compared with English; Chinese contains no conjugations or plurals. For human translators, these problems are most often resolved through context or personal experience. There's no rule that says "between a rock and a hard place" isn't literal. We just know.