Author: boke_usa

Auto-translating English Sonnets to Chinese (using Google tool) -- Do these line [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2006-1-5 08:08:09 |Display all floors

Sonnet, Structures, Poetry, etc

Nice run at a sonnet, Boke.  I make it a point not to critique others poetry, but I thought we could share some things.  Robert Frost said that poetry is the thing that is lost in translation.  And that is the thing here.

Chinese is not only a language, it is a culture, with a historical background and literary tradition.  In the book "Nineteen Ways of Looking at Wang Wei: How a Chinese Poem is Translated: By Eliot Weinberger and Octavio Paz, 1987"  there are 19 translations of the poem, some so different as to have no relation to the original.

The original is:

空山不见人
但闻人语响
返景入深林
复照青苔上

And this is really not translatable by machine.  If we did, the meaning conveyed by the words is not the meaning conveyed by the poem.  Also, every reading of a poem should be like a new dawn, conveying different meanings to the reader.  In fact, each line should ideally change the meaning of the previous line in the reader's mind, as the poem approaches completion.  A mechanical translation can never bring this across the gap between linguistic cultures.

For example, all my Hispanic teenage students think your first line means that A pretty Shanghai girl is pregnant because she was afraid to use birth control because of the mention of the husband in line four.  All my black teenage students think it means she realized the futility of staying with one husband when she's young and hot, but she's probably not pregnant6, just excited.  All the white kids at a catholic high school envisioned her as discovering how wonderful sex is, but not wanting her husband to know where she learned it.

All of these answers came from asking the students to write me a 1 line description of the pretty shanghai girl.

Does your machine translation handle these kinds of nuances well?

What I am saying is that writing a poem so that it translates word for word into another language is not a poetic endeavor, but, as Afri-Simba notes, is a test for robotics.
LSR.  龙诗人  or  龍詩人
A crater on the planet Mercury is named 李白. (Li Bai)
http://dragonpoet.blogbus.com/

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Post time 2006-1-5 13:24:34 |Display all floors

NOTE: machine translation "reversibility"

:) Quoting myself from another thread ...
:) Dear ruotong, let us more formally highlight  this issue of "machine translation" reversibility before proceeding ...

RE: Robot translation of a line of  English (iambic p e n t a m e t e r )
to Chinese and back to English.

CONSTRAINT: REVERSIBILITY

INPUT DATA: “My question is: What does this robot know?”
ROBOT TRANSLATION =  我的问题是: 这个机器人知道什么?

INPUT DATA: “我的问题是: 这个机器人知道什么?”
ROBOT TRANSLATION = “My question is: What does this robot know?”

---
COMMENTARY / NOTES:  
(1) When given the English sentence above as input,
the Robot produces the Chinese translation as output.

(2) When the Chinese translation produced above is
fed back into the Robot, it reproduces the original sentence. (unchanged)

(3) NOTE: Usually a "machine translation" is NOT exactly "reversible."
For example: "What is the nature of the problem?"
MACHINE TRANSLATION: 自然是什么这个问题的?
REVERSE TRANSLATION: "What this question naturally is?"
Notice that the reverse translation is not the same as input.

(4) BUT English sentences can be composed which do "reverse translate"
without change.

THE BIG QUESTION   What does the robot know?
Yes, that sounds funny. But surely the Robot knows something
about Chinese ... however, it is not (yet) clear what that is.


EXPERIMENTAL IDEA/QUESTION:
If the Robot is given only "reversible" (English>Chinese>English) sentences ... what kind of Chinese will the Robot produce ... and is that kind likely to be Chinglish/Engese?

I'm sure that is all very clear.


I will reply more later ... but wanted to highlight something
which is not obvious about BOKE's robot sonnets:
They are reversibile.

CLARIFYING EXERCISE

Compose a line of English Iambic p e n t a m e t e r
which will machine translate to Chinese and back to English
without any change in the original.


NOTE: Use Google language tools if you can ...
http://translate.google.com/translate_t

[ Last edited by boke_usa at 2006-1-4 09:31 PM ]

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Post time 2006-1-5 14:33:11 |Display all floors

Dear Simba!

:) You waded deep into the past to find this thread ... Hurray!

"in the way that we teach our chinese students to recite the texts every morning. "
Yes! Yes!


First ... unhinge your mind, and let the water flow.

:) Now, let us ponder the first line of Shanghai-Shakespeare's sonnet #1
[size=-2]{SSS_001.01} One pretty Shanghai girl makes one mistake.
Google machine translation to Chinese: 一个俏丽上海女孩犯一错误
http://translate.google.com/translate_t


As we see (and you can verify), Google language tools puts the first "个"
in, but (as you, I think, are telling me) leaves the second "个" out.
一个俏丽上海女孩犯一错误
instead of ...
一个俏丽上海女孩犯一错误

Let's check how both reverse translate back to English (via Google)
一个俏丽上海女孩犯一错误
machine translates: One pretty Shanghai girl makes one mistake.
and
一个俏丽上海女孩犯一错误
machine translates: One pretty Shanghai girl makes one mistake.

Yes, we see Google's BETA Chinese machine translation
has a bug. Will the ALPHA be smarter? Robot won't tell.


Hmmm ... I have now forgotten what the point of this message is
... I will say more (or less) when my mind clears (hopefully in a few minutes)

[ Last edited by boke_usa at 2006-1-4 10:48 PM ]

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Post time 2006-1-5 15:02:00 |Display all floors

Dear leungshuren ...

leungshuren wrote:
... For example, all my Hispanic teenage students think your first line means that A pretty Shanghai girl is pregnant because she was afraid to use birth control because of the mention of the husband in line four.  All my black teenage students think it means she realized the futility of staying with one husband when she's young and hot, but she's probably not pregnant, just excited.  All the white kids at a catholic high school envisioned her as discovering how wonderful sex is, but not wanting her husband to know where she learned it.

All of these answers came from asking the students to write me a 1 line description of the pretty shanghai girl. ...


:) Robot and I are totally delighted by this news.

So I will yell at you later.

Seriously, bless your heart ... I am very grateful for your close attention
to this "vague experiment." :) (Certainly you deserve a
longer reply ... and I'll be thinking about one ...)

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Post time 2006-1-9 16:41:06 |Display all floors
to boke_usa ,

What a funny experiment  you are making.haha....By the way,are you trying to learn chinese now?

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Post time 2006-1-9 17:14:25 |Display all floors

Boke's Robot falls in love with sonnets of both Chinese and English madly

You know guys in love are not so consciencious and talk no sense at all
或者升的更高,或者彻底堕落;
或者成就自己,或者毁掉自己。

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Post time 2006-1-9 21:36:03 |Display all floors

You know...

Originally posted by 3gkarma at 2006-1-9 12:14
You know guys in love are not so consciencious and talk no sense at all


三世缘呀!You know, love is blind...

hah hah.

i've enjoyed your humour so much...

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