The first sentence of the Noli

22 December 2008 at 3:56 AM | Posted in News | 3 Comments

This is the first sentence of the first chapter of Jose Rizal’s Noli me tangere: “A fines de Octubre, don Santiago de los Santos, conocido popularmente bajo el nombre de Capitán Tiago, daba una cena, que, a pesar de haberlo anunciado aquella tarde tan sólo contra su costumbre, era ya el tema de todas las conversaciones en Binondo, en otros arrabales y hasta en Intramuros.” Is this better or worse than the back translation done by Yahoo! Babel Fish: “En el último de octubre Don Santiago de los Santos, conocido popular como Capitan Tiago, dio una cena, a pesar de que, contrariamente a su aduana generalmente, él había hecho el aviso solamente que la tarde, él era ya el único asunto de la conversación en Binondo y districtos adyacentes, e incluso en Intramuros”? I offer this only to solicit opinions on (1) machine translation, (2) Rizal’s Spanish. (For example, are “popularmente” and “costumbre” less correct or idiomatic than “popular” and “aduana”?)

3 Comments »

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  1. Machine translation has a LONG way to go before it can translate as well as a bilingual 10-year-old. I’m no expert, but the problem seems to be context, and it probably won’t be solved until Artificial Intelligence makes some major advances. Some software translators try by having the user select a different lexis for different contexts, e.g. business, sports, medicine, etc.

    The ff. two seem to do a better job than Babelfish, at least with the Noli’s first sentence: the PROMT translator (www.translate.ru), or the igoogle engine, which has a wiki feature (www.google.com/language_tools?hl=en).

    Play

  2. Machine translation has a LONG way to go before it can translate as well as a bilingual 10-year-old. I’m no expert, but the problem seems to be context, and it probably won’t be solved until Artificial Intelligence makes some major advances. Some software translators try by having the user select a different lexis for different contexts, e.g. business, sports, medicine, etc.

    The ff. two seem to do a better job than Babelfish, at least with the Noli’s first sentence: the PROMT translator (www.translate.ru), or the igoogle engine, which has a wiki feature (www.google.com/language_tools?hl=en).

    Play

  3. Machine translation has a LONG way to go before it can translate as well as a bilingual 10-year-old. I’m no expert, but the problem seems to be context, and it probably won’t be solved until Artificial Intelligence makes some major advances. Some software translators try by having the user select a different lexis for different contexts, e.g. business, sports, medicine, etc.

    The ff. two seem to do a better job than Babelfish, at least with the Noli’s first sentence: the PROMT translator (www.translate.ru), or the igoogle engine, which has a wiki feature (www.google.com/language_tools?hl=en).

    Play


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