My previous post got advocates of artificial intelligence to accuse me of making arguments against Google Translator (GT) based on proper nouns or misspelled words. These they contended made GT confound translation with transliteration in that particular case. However, I have recently found more compelling evidence to show that they indeed use English as a mediating language even when they ‘offer’ to translate from any source language to any target language. In doing so, they ignore fundamental ways in which languages differ from English.
Spanish like Hindi has a distinct formal and informal second person form. So an “Aap kaise ho? (How are you, formal) – becomes “?Como esta”? in spanish and a “Tum Kaise Ho?” (how are you, informal)translates to “?Como estas?”. Enter either of these in GT in Hindi and the Spanish output on GT is the same result, ”?Como estas?” ( the informal form). Puzzled, well English ( the language through which it is mediated) has one second person singular form, “You”. So either of the Hindi expressions are first translated to “How are You?” and then further translated into Spanish.
Here I used no proper nouns, or a word that was hard to spell or understand, but the first expression that one learns when starting with any new language ( even before the alphabet or any vocab). And there this probabilistic and/or intelligent algorithm fails to make this fundamental distinction in Spanish and Hindi from English.
Anyway, till Big Brother achieves greater perfection so that humans can only learn the newest newspeak (ref: Orwell’s 1984) – the language of the mouse, I urge you to continue enrolling in real language classes and turn to real people for humanistic tasks!
PostScript:I was told that my previous post was being circulated within Google and they were using the evidence presented as a case study of sorts. I would have expected them to offer some kind of acknowledgement. But I see no signs that they even visited my website. They ( or some employee) perhaps has conveniently copied the text and maybe is passing it off as his own discovery.