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review 2009-11-20 00:00
The Spoken Language Translator (Studies in Natural Language Processing) - Thoughts while reading this.

p. 3 Well, I've been getting the smallest idea of SLT over the last months, but I mean small. I only just know where the on/off switch is on my computer, so my perspective is of somebody completely ignorant.

The first thing that comes to mind, reading the introduction, is what an incredibly difficult, ambitious thing it is, SLT. I'm sure the authors do not oversell it when they say, p. 2 that if it could fulfill all its aims it would transform human society.

The second thing is that this book was written in 2000 and, as far as I can see, not revised for the 2007 edition. Surely much must have changed. And surely the resources of larger computers make an ongoing difference?

It must be incredibly frustrating to be in fields where one is waiting, waiting, waiting for what is ongoingly inevitable, the increasing power of computers that will permit progress. To have to wait for technology to catch up with ideas. Oh dear.

The next thing I find myself thinking, when the authors discuss the need for accuracy, is the difference between a human translator and a computer. I wonder if an important aspect of intelligent translation is that a human, having made a mistake, may well soon enough recognise and correct it in whatever way might be appropriate.

Can SLT do that? Is this something it would need deep reasoning capability to achieve? Is it possible? It seems to me that however accurate one hopes to make the system, the possibility of being able to recognise mistakes would be a great asset.

Well. Food for thought as I cook dinner. All my technology is up to the task, I'm so lucky.

A couple of days later...

By p. 6 (!) I thought I was on a roll....but suddenly, as you read p. 6, your eyes are disconcertingly drawn to p. 7. They hit you with something that made me get out my garlic necklace, worn as a rule only when reading Manny's Stephanie Meyer reviews. Little did I know it would come in handy for a science text book. So, I put on my garlic necklace and anything else I hope will ward off evil. Dear reader, you are probably already thinking 'oh no, not -' Yes, I'm afraid so. It's a flow chart. My eyes glaze over and I dare say yours too.

Now, my attitude when I picked up this book was to do it properly. The authors wanted me to read a flow chart, I'd damn well read it, if it killed me. Back in a bit.

8 hours, 16 cups of tea and 5 scones later, I have a pain in my stomach. It's this $%#&@ chart. So, I've tried. Honestly I tried. But it is time to move on. And then I discover something that wll make life easier for the rest of you. The flow chart is explained in words. Ladies and gentlemen, I am back in business.

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review 1999-01-01 00:00
The Spoken Language Translator - Manny Rayner,David Carter,Pierrette Bouillon,Vassilis Digalakis Definitely one of the two three best books by me :)
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