Let’s Talk About MT

What is MT? Well, you don’t know what MT is? You REALLY don’t know? MT stands for Machine Translation. It’s new, novel, innovative, innovatory, innovational or however you want to call it. It’s modern, trendy, voguish or – again – however you want to call it. It’s also comfortable. And free. Open your browser, type a few words in any language and – voila! Your translation is served! Hot and fresh. Let’s assume you are a native English speaker and recently met a Romanian woman. You are kind of in love with her and want to bring your relationship to the next level. She doesn’t speak any English, you don’t speak any Romanian. But you’re cool. Machine Translation is here for you. So you start typing: “How are you, pumpkin?” And your devoted helper instantly translates your short, simple and affectionate sentence: “Ce mai faci, dovleac?” Copy-paste is already a matter of routine, Facebook, Whatsapp, Viber are at hand. Now you are positive that the object of your warm feelings got the message. And she did! But she is stunned. MT was faithful, didn’t cheat on you. Nonetheless, she is not happy. Because you just told her she is a big, fat, non-attractive vegetable. So she wants to reply, but chooses to ignore what she perceived as kind of an insult from you. She just wants to tell you that her friend cooked a ratatouille and wants to join her at lunch. So she types: „Scuză-mă, mă cheamă prietena la masă, a făcut ghiveci”. And right away, the MT does its job: „Excuse me, call my girlfriend at the table, she made pots”.
She made pots
Well, you got it. Now this is funny, I admit. But imagine what could happen in more serious situations. In life-threatening situations – how MT could impact people’s lives. So many people rely today mostly on MT. But, in my opinion, the human brain can’t be replaced with a machine. Not yet, at least. To your amusement, here is a screenshot of what I found on the internet when I was searching for a term. The text was obviously translated into Romanian using MT. How would the back-translation sound? Well, here is just a sentence: Myoclonic seizures consist of sporadic masturbators, usually on both sides of the body. Patients sometimes describe masturbators as short electric shocks. q.e.d.
Convulsii labagii