Newsflash: Chinese-English Machine Translation Is Getting Better

11 Dec 2007

“Better,” i.e. less obscene.

Brendan recently wrote a post in which he discusses the possible origins of offensive translations of the word . He strongly suspects bad machine translation is the culprit.

Then just the other day Victor Mair wrote on the same subject on Language Log, in which he basically proved that newer versions of popular translation software 金山词霸 (AKA Kingsoft, AKA iciba) don’t make these same mistakes. The real kicker to the post was the update provided by internet superhero Joel Martinsen, in which the old Kingsoft translations were revealed in all their linguistic horror. Check it out, and make sure to scroll all the way down.

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John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.

Comments

  1. Wasn’t it Kingsoft that got blamed for the sofa labeled “nigger brown” that caused the African American family to sue for emotional trauma?

  2. Hugo,

    Yes, I think so. They’ve made progress in recent years, but the translations in their software used to be appallingly bad…

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