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The Present State of Machine Translation "Machine Translation" presumably means going by algorithm from machine-readable source text* to useful target text, without re- course to human translation or editing. In this context, there has been no machine translation of general scientific text, and none is in immediate prospect. The contention that there has been no machine translation of general scientific text is supported by the fact that when, after 8 years of work, the Georgetown University MT project tried to pro- duce useful output in 1962, they had to resort to postediting. The postedited translation took slightly longer to do arid was more ex- pensive than conventional human translation. The "mechanical translation' facility of the USAF Foreign Technology Division (FTD) postedits the machine output whenit produces translations. Dr. Gilbert King of Itek Corporation told the Committee that Itek plans to establish a "machine translation" service, but that it will provide postedited translations. Dr. J.C.R. Licklider of IBM and Dr. Paul Garv~n of Bunker-Ramo said they would not advise their companies to establish such a service. Unedited machine output from scientific text is decipherable for the most part, but it is sometimes misleading and sometimes wrong (as is postedited output to a lesser extent), and it makes slow and painful reading." (See Appendix 10.) A recent study by the American Institutes for Research DUB. Orr and V. H. Small, "A Reading Comprehension Test, " Prelim. Rept., Contr. No. AF30~602-3459), June 30, 1965] had as its princi- pal objective comparison of the accuracy and speed with which the *Machine-readable text is simply text that can be used as an input to a computer. It includes punched cards, punched paper tape, and magnet;;:c tape, and is ordinarily prepared from printed text by a keyboard operator. TExcellent machine output of simple or selected text has been attained in several experiments; this is of no practical and limited theoretical significance. 19
same Russian documents can be read when they have been trans- lated into English by the FTD machine translation (MT) system (one set postedited, the other set just as it came out of the computer) and when they had been translated into English by a human trans- lator in the conventional manner. In physics, tests showed that the reader of raw MT output was 10 percent less accurate, 21 percent slower, and had a comprehen- sion level 29 percent lower than when he used human translation. When he used postedited output, he was 3 percent less accurate, 11 percent slower, and had a comprehension level 13 percent lower than when he used human translation. ~ the earth sciences, when he used raw MT output, he was 16 percent less accurate, 21 percent slower, and had a 25 percent lower comprehension level than when he used human translations. When he used postedited output, he was 5 percent less accurate, 11 per- cent slower, and had a comprehension level 23 percent lower than when he read human translations. Subjectively, a lot of the trouble seems to lie in unnatural con- structions and unnatural word order, though strange translations of individual words or multiple translations of one word, with the choice left to the reader, are bothersome. (For a classification of the types of errors common in machine translation see Appendix 11.) The paragraphs below are typical of the recent (since November 1964) output of four different MT systems. Each sample gives the first and last (except for translation No. 4) paragraphs and a para- graph from the middle of a Russian article on space biology. Bunker- Ramo Corporation No. 1 Biological experiments, conducted on various/different cosmic aircraft, astrophysical researches of the cosmic space and flights of Soviet and American astronauts with the sufficient/rather persuasivenes s showed/ indicated/pointed, that momentary/transitory/short orbital flights of lower/below than radiation belts/regions/flanges of earth/land/soil in the absence of the raised/increased/hightened sun/sunny/solar activity with respect to radiation are/appear/arrive/ report safe/not dangerous/secure. Received/obtained by astronauts of the dosage of the radiation at the ex- pense of the primary cosmic emission/radiation and emissions/radiations of the external/outer radiation belt/region/flange are so/such a small, that can not render/show/give the harmful influence/action/effect on/in/at/to the organism of man. Mammals (dog, mouse/mice, rat, guinea pigs), fly/flies of the drosophi- lae, vegetable/vegetational objects/items/objectives. Seeds of higher/supe- rior/supreme plants/vegetables (wheat, peas, onion/bow, the pine tree, beans, radish, carrot etc), microspore of the tradescantia/spiderwort, the 20
culture of the alga/seaweed chlorella on/in/at/to tissue, cellular, sub- cellular, and molecular levels (Gyurdzhian, 1962A. . Antipov et al., 1962) were used in these experiments. to experiments on/in/at/to mam- mals the special/particular/peculiar attention/consideration/was given to the research/analysis/investigation of the state/condition/position of the system of the blood/hemogenesis formation, the determination/definition/ decision of intermediate products of the exchange of nucleic acids (desoxy- cytidine and diJepolo$itel* substances), the study/investigation of the state/ condition/position of the natural immunity, the determination/definition/ decision of the maintenance/content of serotonin in the blood. Moreover, the control for/during/per/beyond the condition/state pigmentation of hair for/ at/by/from black mice (the line/strain CSUB57 BL) was conducted. Physio- logical shifts/improvements were studied also/as well on/in/at/to seeds of higher/superior/supreme plants, vegetables microorganisms, cells of vari- ous different tissues/cloth in the culture etc. Thus, the consideration/investigation certain/some from/of principal/ basic radiobiological problems shows/indicates/points/displays, that in the given region/area still/yet/more/back/some more very many/very much unsolved questions. This is clear/plain, since cosmic radiobiology is very the young section/division of young science--the cosmic biology. However there is/there are/is/eat basis to hope, that by common/general/total efforts of scientific various/different professions of different/various countries of the world/peace radiobiological researches in the cosmic space will be sucessfully continued/carried on and were expanded/broadened. Computer Concepts, Inc. No. 2 The biological experiments that were carried out on different cosmic flying apparatus, ASTROFIZICESKIE the research of cosmic PROSTRANS- TVA and the flights of Soviet and American KOSMONAN7TOV with sufficient UBEDITEL6NOST6H showed, that the short-time orbital flights below of the radiational belts of earth in the absence that was raised by the SOLNECNO one of activity in a radiational attitude are BEZOPASNYMI. Dose of radia- ti on at the expense of primary cosmic radiation and the radiation of an exterior radiational belt the obtained by KOSMONAYTAMI are so little, that aren't able to render a harmful influence to the organism of a man. Mammals (dogs, meeth, rats, sea SVINKI) were utilized in these experi- ments. The flies of drosophila, vegetable objects, semena of higher plants (wheat, GOROX, LUK, a pine tree, BOBY, REDIS, a carrot and others), MIKROSPORY of TRADESKANQII the culture of an alga chlorella in differ- ent nourishing mediums, the numerous biological and QITOLOGICESKI ones objects on the TKANEVOM, cellular, subcellular and molecular levels (GhrUj fan, 1962 and Antipov from Soavt 1962) arid in experiences to mammals particular attention was being allotted to the research of the condition of the system of KROVOT~ORENI4, to the definition of the intermediate products of the exchange of nucleic acids DEZOKSIQITIDINA and DIWEPOLOJITEL- 6NYX substances), to the study of the condition of natural IMMUNITETA, to 21
the definition of the content of SEROTON~A in KROVI. Besides, control after the condition of PIGMENTAQII of VOLOS at CERNYX meeth (the line of C(57) of Y) was being carried out. Physiological SDVIGI were being studied also on SEMENAX of higher plants, microorganisms, the cells of different tissues in culture and T. of D. Thus, the examination of some from fundamental RADIOBIOLOGICES- KIX problems shows, that in this a field still very much NEREWENNYX questions. This is clear, since cosmic RADIOBIOLOGI4 is very young RAZDELOM young science efforts of the scientific different specialties of the different countries of the world successful PRODOLJENY will be ex- panded there are. FTD, USAF No. 3 Biological experiments, conducted on different space aircraft/vehicles, astrophysical space research and flights of Soviet and American astronauts with/from sufficient convincingness showed that short-term orbital flights lower than radiation belts of earth in the absence of heightened solar activity in radiation ratio are safe. Obtained by astronauts of dose of radia- tion at the expense of primary cosmic radiation and radiation of external radiation belt are so small that cannot render harmful influence on organism of person. In these ESKPERIMENTAKH were used mamals (dog, mice, rat, guinea pig), fly of Drosophilae, vegetable obj ects, seeds of highest plants (wheat, pea, onion/bow, pine, beans, radish, carrot and others), microspore of tradescantia, culture of alga chlorella on different nutrient media, numer- ous biological and TSITOLOGICHCHESKIE objects on tissue, cellular, sub- cellular and molecular levels (Gyurozhian 1962A, Anti-Pov w~th/from Soavt, 1962). In experiments on mammals special attention was allotted in- vestigation of state of system of sanguification, determination of inter- mediate products of exchange of nucleic acids (deoxycytidine and Dische- positive substances), study of state of natural immunity, determination of contents gray-fineness in blood. Furthermore, was conducted counterol for/after state of pigmentation of hairs for black mice (line bl). Physio- logic shifts were studied also on seeds of highest plants, microorganisms, cages of different fabrics in culture etc. Thus, consideration of certain from basic radiobiological problems shows that in given region still very many unsolved questions. This and intelligibly. since space radiobiology is very young division of young science--space biology. However is base to trust that jointly scientists of different specialties of various countries of world/peace radiobiological investigations in outer space will be successfully cont~nued and expanded. 22
EURATOM, Ispra, Italy No. 4 (Essenlially the Georgetown MT system) Biological experiments, which were conducted on different cosmic LETA- TEL6NYX APPARATI, the astrophysical investigations of cosmic space and the flights of Soviet and also American KOSMONAVTOV with the sufficient convincingness showed, that the short-term orbital flights of below radia- tion belts of ground upon the absence of the increased solar activity in radiation relation are safe. Obtained by KOSMONAVTAMI of dose of radia- tion at the expense of initial cosmic radiation and the radiations of external radiation belt are so small, that cannot have harmful action on the orgamsm of man. In these experiments there were used mammals (dogs, mice, KRYSY, the maritime piglets), MUXI DROZOFILY, vegetable objects. The seeds of higher plants (wheat, the pea, LUK, pine, beans, REDIS, MORKOV6 etc.) MIKROSPORY TRADE SKANQII, the culture of alga of chlorella on the differ- ent feed environments, numerous biological and QITOLOGICESKIE objects on TKANEVOM, cellular, SUBKLE TOCNOM and molecular levels (Ghrdj fan, 1962 and Antipov with Soavt 1962). In experiments on mammals special attention was devoted to the investigation of state of system of KROVOT- VORENI4, the determination of intermediate products the exchange of nucleinic acids (DEZOKSIQITIDINA and DIWEPOLOJITEL6NYX sub- stances), the study of the state of natural IMMUNITETA The determination of content of SEROTONINA in blood. Besides this, there was conducted the check for the state or PIGMENTAQll the hair at black mice (the line C(57) Y)the Physiolo~cal) shifts were studied also on the seeds of higher plants, microorganisms, the cells of the different tissues in culture and T D. The reader will find it instructive to compare the samples above with the results obtained on simple, or selected, text 10 years earlier (the Georgetown IBM E~eriment, January 7, 1954) in that the earlier samples are more readable than the later ones. The quality of crude oil is determined by calory content. The quality of saltpeter is determined by chemical methods. TNT is produced from coal. They obtain dynamite from nitroglycerine. Ammonite is obtained from saltpeter. Gasol~ne is prepared by chemical methods from crude oil. They prepare ammonite. Gasoline is produced by chemical methods from crude oil. The price of crude oil is determined by the market. Calory content determines the quality of crude oil. TNT is prepared from coal. The development of the electronic digital computer quickly sug- gested that machine translation might be possible. The idea cap- tured the imagination of scholars and administrators. The practical 23
goal was simple: to go from machine-readable foreign technical text to useful English text, accurate, readable, and ultimately in- distinguishable from text written by an American scientist. Early machine translations of simple or selected text, such as those given above, were as deceptively encouraging as "machine trans- lations" of general scientific text have been uniformly discouraging. However, work toward machine translation has produced much valuable linguistic knowledge and insight that we would not other- wise have attained. No one can guarantee, of course, that we will not suddenly or at least quickly attain machine translation, but we feel that this is very unlikely. Victor H. Yngve of the MIT Research Laboratory of Elec- tronics, in answer to a request from Committee Chairman John R. Pierce, expressed his views as follows: I concur with your view of machine translation, that at present it serves no useful purpose without postediting, and that with postediting the over-all process is slow and probably uneconomical. As to the possibility of fully automatic translation, I am convinced that we will some day reach the point where this will be feasible and economi- cal. However, there is considerable basic knowledge required that we simply don't have at the moment, and it is anybody's guess how soon this knowledge can be obtained. However, I am dedicated to trying to obtain some of this knowledge. The question as to whether fully automatic translation will ever be economical must wait until we see whether it is possible at all. I feel that if it is possible, then it will be economical in the future because of the rapid advances in computer technology. In his paper, "Implications of Mechanical Translation Research" havoc. Am. Philosophical Soc. 108, 275 (1964~], Dr. Yngve notes: Work in mechanical translation has come up against a semantic barrier. . We have come face to face with the realization that we will only have ade- quate mechanical translation when the machine can "understand" what it is translating and this will be a very difficult task indeed. . . "understand" is just what I mean. . . some of us are pressing forward undaunted. . The Committee indeed believes that it is wise to press forward undaunted, in the name of science, but that the motive for doing so cannot sensibly be any foreseeable improvement in practical trans- lation. Perhaps our attitude might be different if there were some pressing need for machine translation, but we find none. 24