Artificial Intelligence and the Language Barrier

If you have a few free minutes, try, for fun, filling them with Google Translate. And you need not be multilingual to enjoy it. Start with something straightforward: Enter an English phrase or sentence (idioms bring particular pleasure). Click a language, say, Spanish, and then “translate.” Copy and paste the translated results over your original English phrase, reverse both languages (so that, in this example, Spanish is now where you begin and English is where you end), and again click “translate.” Did you get anything remotely like your original phrase? Possibly. But not likely and certainly not always. I tried this myself and got the results below: There is a sale on sails on the boat by the bay. (English original) No es una venta de velas en…


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