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Re: Re : Re: Universal Translation Language

From:Raymond A. Brown <raybrown@...>
Date:Tuesday, June 1, 1999, 6:31
At 3:13 pm -0400 31/5/99, From
Http://Members.Aol.Com/Lassailly/Tunuframe.Html wrote:
>Dans un courrier dat=E9 du 31/05/99 14:27:29 , Ray a =E9crit : > >> Personally, I do not see how machines will manage translation of literatu=
>> unless they become truly intelligent. > >the chief of the french automatic translation programme i interviewed >(Maurice Gross) was very sarcastic about the failure of the european >programme EUROTRA (which cost billions to eurotaxpayers) but quite confiden=
>that within 30 years the main lexies of french and english will have been >listed and good translation made possible betwixt both languages. he define=
>lexies as irreductible concepts expressed either by phonemes such as words, >compound words ("chair leg"), integrated PoS ("porte-manteau") or even >"fixed" sentence patterns ("ce n'est pas sans une certaine =E9motion que...=
>or "do you want to come to my place for coffee ?) etc. he told me lexies mu=
>be reckoned within sentences. so they are computing all sentences of some >daily newspapers for years and chase the lexies. he estimated the number of >basic lexies to some 100,000 and expected a similar number in both french a=
>english. he told me : "i won't see myself the achievement of that task, but >you will" (he's 50 or so and i'm 30).
Within 30 years? - he's a bit pessimistic about living to 80. I'm 60 and I intend to be around to see this :) Yep - I've no doubt that one day we'll get reasonable automatic translation between languages like English & French. After all the structures of the two languages are not too dissimilar and both peoples have to some extent shared a common western European culture for many centuries. By this I'm _not_ decrying the effort - far from it - I'm very aware of the difficulties of automatic translation even when the languages are similar. But I think the greatest success will come first with translations between languages like Eng-French &, say, Spanish & French/ Spanish & English. It will be rather longer, I'm sure, before we achieve the same success in machine translation between, say, English & Japanese; and I may well not see that :) for UTL??
> >I know that in AI circles the >> question of whether our present high-speed & very efficient morons will >> ever achieve anything like real intelligence is the substance of argumen=
>> & flames - and quite irrelevant on this list IMHO. > >i feel that artlangers are best able to make an ial because they can write >poetry. poets know and mix words according to all shades of their complex >meaning. they instinctively know every meaning of each single word and all >meanings you can conjure up by pairing them.
You may well be right. But own feeling is that in the forseeable future IALs are likely to natlangs or natlang-based. I am _not_ saying that I advocate this, simply that I think is so. At present, Spanish, French & English (inter alia) all serve as international auxiliaries in different regions of the world - English being, at present, the most widely used. I don't see any inevitability in this continuing for ever. But, nevertheless, the IAL slot, it seems to me, is likely to filled by natlangs as it has been throughout history - e.g. Sumerian, Akkadian, Aramaic, Greek Koine, Latin etc., etc. PLEASE - I do not need to be told that this was because of military conquest and/or commericial exploitation and, therefore, "bad". I do not need to have the virtues of a "neutral" conIAL paraded before me. I know the arguments *ad nauseam* - auxlangers elsewhere have told me all this in no uncertain terms. Ray.