Computer generated translation?

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by webdog, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. webdog

    webdog
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    It appears that in this computer age there should be an english translation done by a computer. All of the transliteration skills of those in Hebrew and Greek combined with cultural English could be computed into a system with the end result being a solid translation not leaning towards certain theological presuppositions as is the case when the human element is taken into consideration.

    Do you think something like this could work? Maybe Obama's teleprompter can head the committee :D
     
  2. JesusFan

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    isn't the HCSB closest in intent to that, as the translators was first to use Accordance throughout the process start to Finish?
     
  3. webdog

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    I still think the human element was prevalent in the translation. I'm talking about a complete computer generated translation given culture, hermeneutic rules, Greek and Hebrew language rules, etc. input and allowing the computer to sort it all out....kind of like they did with the computer that plays chess.
     
  4. JesusFan

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    Gotcha!

    maybe could have bible with MT as text basis maybe, Eh?
     
  5. Van

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    Sure software could replace many "experts" in the Bible translation business. Ditto for medical and law experts. The digital revolution is just getting started. Because older folks tend to hold the levers of power, we might have to wait until todays generation dies off.

    For example a computer based analysis would show that all the supposed differences between the TR or MT and the CT are insignificant, but those with a vested interest in supporting one over the overs would not accept it.
     
  6. franklinmonroe

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    Been done; its called the AV7 (New Testament only).
     
  7. preachinjesus

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    Knowing the intricacies of Bible translation work and the limits of modern computers (including supercomputers) this wouldn't be accomplished with the precision needed and provided by well trained scholars.

    Bible translation combines art and science. You have to be able to look at the texts, see the words, their usage, their parsing, their context, their genre, their author, their Sitz em Leben along with knowing the theological points being made, the possibility of textual variants and how they influence a text, the other use of a term by the author(s), and the use of idiomatic language. Of course there are more that I can add but suffice to say proper translation is a difficult task.

    While computers could, reasonably, get a translation within (say) 75% accuracy they would miss so many of these features.

    I use Google translate a lot for rough translations. The program is good but not great. The other day I was trying to read something in German from a friend and tossed it through Google Translate just for funsies. The bulk of the email got through but Google Translate missed several significant points because the author (my friend) used several German idioms and colloquialisms. Instead of picking them up the program roughly translated them...and got it wrong.

    The computing power that is available now is a wonderful thing. Yet it lacks sufficient intelligence to be able to thoroughly construct a precise and useful text. The computer could craft a rough draft but it would lack the detail human scholarship provides.

    One parting illustration: Imagine if we attempted to do this with some of the great artists. Just toss in ideas, pictures, and such and ask a computer to spit out a product. Well I'm sure we'd get some great "hotel art" or some sterile piece of predictable, safe art but we'd lose out on the next Monet, Picasso, Michelangelo, or Dali. The art produced by the computer is limited to the abilities of the programmers. Programmers (in my encounters with them) often lack both creativity and the ability to think abstractly. Both of these qualities are vital to an artist. We'd be able to have art, but it wouldn't push us to where we need to go.

    This is a great question btw. :thumbsup:
     
  8. Van

    Van
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    Yes and computers can't fly planes either. :)
     
  9. John of Japan

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    I'm very skeptical about the current level of computer software technology being able to produce a usable translation of the NT. Humans will still be needed for a long, long time. What computers cannot have is that sense of nuance and usage. I have a basic Japanese/English translation software program, and believe me anything it produces requires a lot, and I mean a lot of revision. Maybe if someone bought me a high end package for say, $500?? :saint:

    What would be needed for a computer translation of the NT:

    (1) A translation program with koine Greek inputted.
    (2) A database for the program to draw on including all known koine documents.
    (3) AI in the sofware that can determine nuances in the word usage.
    (4) AI in the software that knows theology.
    (5) Etc., etc.
     
  10. Mexdeaf

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    Not without help from humans.
     
  11. David Lamb

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    I have serious doubts. Certainly the translation software would need to be far, far better than Google uses to "translate" web pages. Try going to a page in a a language other than English, and click on "Translate this page". I did it with a page originally in German. Here is part of the result:

    Google's English

    But importantly, is that no longer speak the players and their coach with a tongue. Not to say that they contradict each other openly and publicly...
    The Original German


    Was aber schwerer wiegt, ist, dass die Spielerinnen und ihre Trainerin nicht mehr mit einer Zunge sprechen. Um nicht zu sagen, sie widersprechen sich offen und öffentlich....

    My Suggestion
    But what is even more important is that the players and their coach no longer speak with one voice. That is not to say that contradict each other frequently in public....

     
  12. Crabtownboy

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    Computer translation has come a long way, but not far enough to accurately translate the Bible. I have had my laptop translate news articles from various languages and while it is understandable it is far from perfect English. It is not just words that need to be translated, but these words need to be put in proper grammar and proper word order. This is where the problem still exists.

    David's post give an excellent example.
     
    #12 Crabtownboy, Aug 17, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 17, 2011

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