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Artificial Intelligence

mathbalarka

Well-known member
MHB Math Helper
Mar 22, 2013
573
Mr X, the head of the patent office, talks with a visitor:

"What would you like to patent?"
"A robot."
"Oh, gosh! The same old things," Mr X is enraged. "My dear friend, I am sick and tired of inventors! Hardly a day passes without one coming in to order a patent for another robot."
"Well, but I ..."
"Belive it or not, I have tested two hundred and sixty nine robots this year. All kinds of them, small and big and all of them. I repeat it - I turned out to be nothing.A robot who is a mans servant and helpmate is of course a good idea. But how can it be materialized? Nevertheless, a guy will come to this office who will introduce a perfect robot, exactly what needed, sooner or later. I will crown him with roses and laurel myself. But who knows when this will be. Meanwhile, you may go home, my friend, and give my best regards to your model"
"But I am not an Inventor."
"Not an inventor??? Then who the heck are you!?!?"
"I am a robot" is the calm answer.

Once, a computer was assigned to translate the expression "Out of sight, Out of mind" in Russian.
To check the translation, computer was requested to put the translation equivalent back to english.
The output read "An Invisible Madman"

In checking the translation of the line from Gospel:"The flesh is weak the spirit is strong" on another computer, the reverse translation of the russian read: "The meat is soft the vodka is strong".
 

Evgeny.Makarov

Well-known member
MHB Math Scholar
Jan 30, 2012
2,492
Once, a computer was assigned to translate the expression "Out of sight, Out of mind" in Russian.
To check the translation, computer was requested to put the translation equivalent back to english.
The output read "An Invisible Madman"
Google Translate, for one, translates this phrase to Russian and back correctly.

In checking the translation of the line from Gospel:"The flesh is weak the spirit is strong" on another computer, the reverse translation of the russian read: "The meat is soft the vodka is strong".
This one is an old anecdote. It is also handled correctly by Google. On the other hand, translating "Please don't shoot me" into Afrikaans and back gives "Do not hesitate to shoot me".

There is also a difficult-to-translate Russian proverb, "Баба с возу — кобыле легче". Literally, it means, "A (peasant) woman off the cart — easier for the mare". Google says, "Woman with a cart - mare easier", which is not too bad because the Russian preposition "с" can be translated both "off" and "with". The reverse translation to Russian is the same as the original except that the rude "баба" (peasant wife) is replaced by neutral "женщина" (woman).

And the line "Мне нравится, что вы больны не мной" from a song in a cult movie "Ирония судьбы, или С лёгким паром!" ("The Irony of Fate, With Light Fog!" — itself an untranslatable title) is converted by Google into "I like the fact that you're not me". The original phrase means "I like it that you are not sick with me" where "to be sick with" means "to have a crush on". The reverse translation gives the hilarious "Мне нравится то, что вы не меня" ("I like it that you are not (doing?) me").
 

Jameson

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 26, 2012
4,043
This is not on the topic of artificial translation but on translation in general and how important it is. Evgeny.Makarov might be familiar with the story but most probably will not be.

In 2009 Hilary Clinton, on behalf of the US, gave a present to a Russian official. It was a large red button on which the US wrote "перегрузка" (peregruska). What they wanted to say was "reset", a kind of symbolic message that relations between the US and Russia should start anew and put some things in the past. Unfortunately for them, "перегрузка" doesn't mean "reset", it means "overload". What they should have written was "перезагрузка" (perezagruska). Oops!

Point here is translations can lead to some surprising situations and it's important to keep improving this technology because even people make huge mistakes.