Monthly Archives: December 2019

More on the remaining 1% problem

The analysis of the Wikipedia article of the day in French is interesting, in the sense that it sheds light on the skills that will be necessary for a machine translation system to achieve a 100% accurate translation. The error that appears here is characteristic and must probably be placed in the missing 1% to achieve 100% accuracy in the translation (the problem of the remaining 1%). The phrase ‘Her father studied at the University of Oregon and then at Yale Law School‘ has a definite article with elision: l’. The translation given (u/a, i.e. indeterminate between the masculine definite article u and the feminine definite article a) is not correct in that it fails to determine the gender – masculine or feminine – of Yale Law School, the name of an English school. In order to provide the correct translation, it is necessary to know how to translate Yale Law School into Corsican, and thus to determine that school is translated by scola, which is feminine. Therefore the correct translation should have been: po à a Yale Law School prima di ….
This finally shows that a translator capable of translating with 100% performance must be able (i) to determine the language in which the text parts are written in another language and (ii) to translate those text parts into the target language. This highlights the skills necessary to successfully achieve the remaining 1% are: (i) the ability to determine the language of a subtext and (ii) the ability to translate a subtext from any language in the target language.

Presently, we can only conjecture that this ability to solve the remaining 1% requires artificial general intelligence (AGI ). Now providing concrete and detailed examples may help to confirm or disprove that hypothesis.

More on two-sided grammar

Let us expand the idea of two-sided (from the analytic/synthetic duality standpoint) grammatical analysis: consider, for example, ‘beaucoup et souvent’ (a lot and often) in the sentence ‘il mange beaucoup et souvent’ (he eats a lot and often). Analytically, ‘beaucoup et souvent’ is composed of and adverb (‘beaucoup’, a conjunction (‘et’) and another adverb (‘souvent’). But synthetically, ‘beaucoup et souvent’ is an adverb, the structure of which is ADVERB+CONJUNCTIONCORD+ADVERB, according to the meta-rule ADVERB = ADVERB+CONJUNCTIONCORD+ADVERB . In the same way, ‘beaucoup mais souvent’ (a lot but often) is also, from a synthetic point of view, an adverb. Analogously, ‘rarement ou souvent’ (rarely or often) is also an adverb, from a synthetic viewpoint. In the same way, ‘rarement voire jamais’ is also a synthetic adverb. This leads to considering ‘even’ as a conjunction of coordination.

Now it is patent that we can expand on that. As hinted at earlier, it seems some progress in rule-based machine translation (we should better speak of, say, ‘human-like MT, since it mimics human reasoning) requires revolutionizing grammar.