• Alysa Salzberg

Researchers examine a major machine translation glitch

Sometimes it feels like we’re living in a world where machines can do everything. For many people, that very much includes translation. Some researchers have claimed that machines are currently capable of translating as well as a human being.


There are many questions this statement may bring to mind. For one thing, we know that machines have a hard time understanding things like jokes and idiomatic expressions, so how could AI translate those types of statements as well as a human translator?


Researchers Marzieh Fadaee and Christof Monz have evoked another kind of question: A machine may make a human-quality translation once, but what happens if certain things are changed?


They discovered that doing things like altering a word, gender, or number in a sentence could result in a completely different translation.


Read on to learn more about Fadaee and Monz’s findings, why this inconsistency may be happening, and what it can teach us.



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