The machine translation game

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Aldarion
Posts: 133
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2007 7:00 pm UTC

The machine translation game

Postby Aldarion » Mon May 12, 2008 10:36 am UTC

Thisi is a game I invented *checks the time* half an hour ago.

You can play the game only if you're at least bilingual, because it requires the knowledge of at least two languages (i.e. bilinguality).

Also you'll need a translating program. Babelfish or Google Translate would do the trick.

So let's suppose that you know languages A and B, and that Babelfish can translate from A to B.

You are given a sentence in language B. Let's call this sentence 'the Goal sentence'.
You must invent a sentence in language A, so that Babelfish would translate it into the Goal sentence. Nothing less than a perfect copy of the Goal, down to punctuation and capitalization, is accepted.
Because machine translation is, to say mildly, less than perfect, inventing such a sentence might prove harder than it seems.

Some thoughts about the rules:
  • The game might go like this: I propose the Goal sentence in any language B. You can choose any language A of your preference, as long as Babelfish or Google Translate can handle it. Obviously, I should also consider this while choosing language A.
  • If your sentence is grammatically correct, you earn, say, 5 bonus points.
  • If your sentence actually means something, you get 10 bonus points.
  • If your sentence means exactly what my Goal sentence means, you earn 10 bonus points and I lose 10 points for offering such an easy Goal. :twisted:
  • If the meaning of your sentence is exactly opposite (or interestingly different) to the meaning of my Goal sentence, you earn 15-20 bonus points.

What do you think about it?
I'm not good, I'm not nice, I'm just right.

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Nebuduck
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Re: The machine translation game

Postby Nebuduck » Mon May 12, 2008 3:59 pm UTC

I'm not bilingual enough to be able to join in, but a few thoughts:

You'll have to rely on trust that people won't just keep trying until they find a sentence that works - trust people that they only enter one sentence. That should be OK with most forum members, but I know there are a few who will just skim over the rules and then think "Ooh, I can mess about until I perfect it".

Secondly, it seems that this whole 20 marks for an opposite meaning is a bit silly - what if someone just writes a sentence with the opposite meaning - in the native language it should have a similar meaning, but opposite when translated.

Which brings me onto point 3 - I think it was inferred, but specify that people should post both the original sentence in the native language and the translated sentence, and also state what was used to translate it.

Also, if I may propose a starting sentence, in american english (as opposed to the superior british):

I just opened the faucet and squirted water all over my ass.

By the way, kinda unrelated - Aldarion, are you who I think you are, or just someoen with the same name?

Edit: Also, you should give extra points if in the native language, the sentence has a completely different meaning to the target (but still has a meaning)

Aldarion
Posts: 133
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2007 7:00 pm UTC

Re: The machine translation game

Postby Aldarion » Mon May 12, 2008 4:55 pm UTC

I agree with all of your points, Nebuduck.

No, I'm not the Aldarion you know. My full alias is Atanvarno Aldarion, not just plain Aldarion.
I'm not good, I'm not nice, I'm just right.

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pr1mu5
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Location: Florida

Re: The machine translation game

Postby pr1mu5 » Mon May 12, 2008 7:18 pm UTC

Perhaps French (the only other language I know well enough to play at this game) doesn't work well, or perhaps your sentence is a bit difficult, or babelfish doesn't translate well, but here's my best attempt:

Je juste ouvert le fauset et ai giclé l'eau tout sur mon âne.

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Nebuduck
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Re: The machine translation game

Postby Nebuduck » Mon May 12, 2008 7:51 pm UTC

seems to do the trick...

Although I'd like to know if fauset is actually a french word - all translators tend to keep words they don't understand the same, so that'd be a pretty easy way of getting some semblance of meaning out of it.

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pr1mu5
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Location: Florida

Re: The machine translation game

Postby pr1mu5 » Mon May 12, 2008 8:14 pm UTC

Nebuduck wrote:seems to do the trick...

Although I'd like to know if fauset is actually a french word - all translators tend to keep words they don't understand the same, so that'd be a pretty easy way of getting some semblance of meaning out of it.


That's exactly what I did. There is no french word for faucet... :) bassin, or robinet, or broche, but no faucet. So 'fauset' keeps it close. :)

Aldarion
Posts: 133
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Re: The machine translation game

Postby Aldarion » Tue May 13, 2008 8:45 am UTC

pr1mu5 wrote:Je juste ouvert le fauset et ai giclé l'eau tout sur mon âne.


Google translates it as "I just opened fauset and I giclé water on my ass."

Babelfish thinks it's "I just open the falsetto and squirted l' water all on my ass."

It's not really close to the target sentence!
I'm not good, I'm not nice, I'm just right.

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pr1mu5
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Re: The machine translation game

Postby pr1mu5 » Tue May 13, 2008 3:11 pm UTC

Aldarion wrote:
pr1mu5 wrote:Je juste ouvert le fauset et ai giclé l'eau tout sur mon âne.


Google translates it as "I just opened fauset and I giclé water on my ass."

Babelfish thinks it's "I just open the falsetto and squirted l' water all on my ass."

It's not really close to the target sentence!


Babelfish translates:
I just open the fauset and squirted water all on my ass.

Pretty darn close. Perhaps you're picking french canadian or something? :)

Aldarion
Posts: 133
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2007 7:00 pm UTC

Re: The machine translation game

Postby Aldarion » Tue May 13, 2008 6:59 pm UTC

pr1mu5 wrote:
Aldarion wrote:
pr1mu5 wrote:Je juste ouvert le fauset et ai giclé l'eau tout sur mon âne.


Google translates it as "I just opened fauset and I giclé water on my ass."

Babelfish thinks it's "I just open the falsetto and squirted l' water all on my ass."

It's not really close to the target sentence!


Babelfish translates:
I just open the fauset and squirted water all on my ass.

Pretty darn close. Perhaps you're picking french canadian or something? :)


Curiouser and curiouser... It's the same inaccurate sentence for me. And I used. babelfish.yahoo.com, where I was redirected from babelfish.altavista.com.
I'm not good, I'm not nice, I'm just right.


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