Machine Translation: The (Funny) Nature of the Beast

If only a machine could tell you what Bessie's thinking. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.

In case you were wondering, after reading last week's blog, how likely it is that machines will soon replace human translators, we decided to share this lighthearted article demonstrating just how far MT technology still has to come before it could possibly replace humans in translation.  There are lots more examples in the article, but a few gems are below.

- "Translation Telephone"  You can still play that beloved elementary school game, even if nobody else wants to, because the computer translator muddles the message up just as well as a bunch of third graders. 

- Biblical phrases are always good for machine translation experiments because of their archaic and symbolic language.  Since even humans don't always understand what was meant by them, it makes sense that computers are even more lost. 

- Animal Translators - Okay, first, this really should be "animal interpreters," since animals have yet to start writing.  Second, it's a joke, so don't get too excited.  Sometimes, though, it seems that we're no closer to truly communicating with other humans using machines than to communicating with animals.  Still, the video is entertaining.  

For the foreseeable future, human translators are the only ones we can trust when we want to be taken seriously.  But for fun and games, machine translators are more than up to the task. 

Feel free to share your favorite funny machine translations with us below!