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Computer science and translation

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Abstract

The authors present how computer scientists adapted concepts inspired by theprocess of translation between natural languages, and applied them to programmingcomputers. Computers, being tireless interpreters of commands, raisesome interesting questions for translation studies: what knowledge is necessaryfor the translation process? To what extent can it be automated? Does translationnecessarily imply understanding of both source and target text? After abrief history of programming languages, the authors compare them with humanlanguages and show how they differ in terms of context and ambiguity. Theythen show how machine translation, the most visible intersection betweentranslation studies and computer science, has evolved from a cryptographer’sneed to an almost everyday appliance. This evolution has been mostly technologicallydriven, often in spite of human translators and raises important questionsregarding the future of translation studies.

References

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