back to article A picture tells a 1,000 words. Here's about 750 on Facebook using pics to school AI translators

Computers are getting pretty good at translating the world's languages. However, as they say, onwards and upwards. Eggheads are now trying to teach machines to do the job in a more human-like way. “While most machine translation systems to date are trained on large parallel corpora, humans learn language in a different way: by …

  1. Captain DaFt

    just how much detail do they use?

    Japanese translator:

    "Picture is 1024X750, 98% black with white oval smudge near center."

    English translator compares picture of galaxy with colorful flower picture:

    "That would be the picture on the left."

    1. MiguelC Silver badge

      Re: just how much detail do they use?

      That would be excellent as it would mean the bot understood all - or, at the very least, most of - those words, which is the point of the exercise

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In awe of Facebook's achievements...

    Lets gloss over the more disturbing truth. Don't look deeper... Reminder of the monster lurking below that Facebook would prefer we forget about:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/20/opinion/the-secret-agenda-of-a-facebook-quiz.html?_r=1

    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-10-27/that-facebook-quiz-might-not-be-so-innocent

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So is this Ai now fluent in types of cat, food,weather phenomenon, teenager pouts and built Ikea furniture?

    I actually feel sorry for this Ai.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I actually feel sorry for this Ai."

      Don't forget all the diodes down its left side that have been hurting for the last hundred million years.

    2. Adam 1

      and yet we wonder why these systems eventually go postal on us.

  4. Irongut

    Computer translation is terrible

    "Computers are getting pretty good at translating the world's languages."

    No, they really aren't. I regualrly use Google translate to read a German language website and have to use domain knowledge and my terrible school German from almost 30 years ago to re-translate what Google provides into the correct English. I'm not talking about cleaning up the grammar here, I'm talking about correcting sentences which are either total garbage or say the opposite of what was written.

    "it’s nowhere near as good as Google Translate nor Facebook’s translation system"

    Facebook translate is so good it translates "good morning" into "attack them": https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/oct/24/facebook-palestine-israel-translates-good-morning-attack-them-arrest

    1. MonkeyCee

      Re: Computer translation is terrible

      @Irongut

      I was about to post exactly the same thing. Roughly a third of the time when I'm using some auto translation service (Google is worse than others admittedly) from Dutch to English it adds or removes a negative in the sentence. For train tickets it almost always translates "may only be used after 0900" to "may not be used after 0900". That's from simple sentences in standard Dutch.

      It's something that should be easily available to check with many other examples online, the terms and conditions are often available in English too, so I can't understand how it's still failing to get simple translations exactly reversed.

      It's also pretty iffy for translating Dutch legalese, with again many switching of negatives, but I accept that there are not always going to be decent examples for my particular case.

      Relying on auto translate without any context is asking for trouble. I've also not found many ML/AI/programs that can take a statement and context and provide any sort of subtext. So how translating meaning is going to work I'm at a loss.

    2. Adam 1

      Re: Computer translation is terrible

      > Facebook translate is so good it translates "good morning" into "attack them"

      You know perhaps we've been focusing on the wrong thing with the whole conflict. Maybe we should double check their translations?

  5. Mage Silver badge

    Computers are getting pretty good at translating the world's languages.

    My experience of say English <-> German is that it's pretty poor and no better than 10+ years ago.

    Pretty much junk for Latin, Irish, Russian and Chinese to/from English.

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