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Grammars: where Linguistics meets Computer Science

Noam Chomsky is a celebrity in many fields. Some translators get surprised when I mention that he is also well known in Computer Science. He invented (discovered?) a classification of grammars as formal systems according to their power of expression (or processing): the Chomsky Hierarchy. This scheme classifies the languages generated by the grammars in […]

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Fully translatable humor

Not being a professional translator myself but being daily in contact with them, I can only imagine how hard it is to translate jokes based on plays on words. However humor can be based on other things, not only on multiple meanings of words or sentences. To illustrate this point, I will give two fine […]

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Is Music a language?

The other night I was listening to a version of Eleanor Rigby by the talented Uruguayan musician Leo Masliah. This particular version has got so many variations and modulations (changes of key) that at one point I realized that there was no way he could know the whole thing by heart. Of course, he writes […]

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Why human postediting is necessary in MT?

We read in a TAUS (Translation Automaton User Society) report: Future developments In general, academic MT observers have tended to view postediting as the weak link in the MT value chain. One of their research targets is to remove the need for postediting as an unfortunate human intrusion into a fully-automatic process. I’ve already expressed my opinion […]

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Power and flexibility in XML

XML has become a widely accepted standard for structuring and exchanging data. It combines power and flexibility, two qualities that usually compete with each other, but in XML have achieved a well-balanced equilibrium. The format itself is deceptively simple: well nested tags with no pre-defined meaning and with optional attributes, which themselves can have any […]

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The masquerade is sober

One of the most famous tests on the field of artificial intelligence is called the “Turing test”, after the great British mathematician Alan Turing. It consists of a human tester having a conversation with an unseen entity, say through an Internet chat, and trying to decide whether the chat is taking place with a human […]

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