RE: Encoding localizable sentences (was: RE: UTC Document Register Now Public)

From: Erkki I Kolehmainen <>
Date: Sat, 20 Apr 2013 21:25:47 +0300

Mr. Overington,

I'm sorry to have to admit that I cannot follow at all your train of thought on what would be the practical value of localizable sentences in any of the forms that you are contemplating. In my mind, they would not appear to broaden the understanding between different cultures (and languages), quite the contrary. I appreciate the fact that there are several respectable members of this community who are far too polite to state bluntly what they think of the technical merits of your proposal.

Sincerely, Erkki I. Kolehmainen

-----Alkuperäinen viesti-----
Lähettäjä: [] Puolesta William_J_G Overington
Lähetetty: 20. huhtikuuta 2013 12:39
Vastaanottaja: KenWhistler
Kopio:; KenWhistler;
Aihe: Re: Encoding localizable sentences (was: RE: UTC Document Register Now Public)

On Friday 19 April 2013, Whistler, Ken <> wrote:
> You are aware of Google Translate, for example, right?
Yes. I use it from time to time, mostly to translate into English: it is very helpful.
> If you input sentences such as those in your scenarios or the other examples, such as:
> Where can I buy a vegetarian meal with no gluten-containing ingredients in it please?
> You can get immediately serviceable and understandable translations in dozens of languages. For example:
> Wo kann ich ein vegetarisches Essen ohne Gluten-haltigen Bestandteile davon, bitte?
> Not perfect, perhaps, but perfectly comprehensible. And the application will even do a very decent job of text to speech for you.
I am not a linguist and I know literally almost no German, so I am not able to assess the translation quality of sentences. Perhaps someone on this list who is a native speaker of German might comment please.
I am thinking that the fact that I am not a linguist and that I am implicitly seeking the precision of mathematics and seeking provenance of a translation is perhaps the explanation of why I am thinking that localizable sentences is the way forward. There seems to a fundamental mismatch deep in human culture of the way that mathematics works precisely yet that translation often conveys an impression of meaning that is not congruently exact. Perhaps that is a factor in all of this.
Thank you for your reply and for taking the time to look through the simulations and for commenting.
Having read what you have written and having thought about it for a while I am wondering whether it would be a good idea for there to be a list of numbered preset sentences that are an international standard and then if Google chose to front end Google Translate with precise translations of that list of sentences made by professional linguists who are native speakers, then there could be a system that can produce a translation that is precise for the sentences that are on the list and machine translated for everything else.
Maybe there could then just be two special Unicode characters, one to indicate that the number of a preset sentence is to follow and one to indicate that the number has finished.
In that way, text and localizable sentences could still be intermixed in a plain text message. For me, the concept of being able to mix text and localizable sentences in a plain text message is important. Having two special characters of international standard provenance for denoting a localizable sentence markup bubble unambiguously in a plain text document could provide an exact platform. If a software package that can handle automated localization were active then it could replace the sequence with the text of the sentence localized into the local language: otherwise the open localizable sentence bubble symbol, some digits and the close localizable sentence bubble symbol would be displayed.
If that were the case then there might well not be symbols for the sentences, yet the precise conveying of messages as envisaged in the simulations would still be achievable.
Perhaps that is the way forward for some aspects of communication through the language barrier.
Another possibility would be to have just a few localizable sentences with symbols as individual characters and to have quite a lot of numbered sentences using a localizable sentence markup bubble and then everything else by machine translation.
I shall try to think some more about this.
> At any rate, if Margaret Gattenford and her niece are still stuck at their hotel and the snow is blocking the railway line, my suggestion would be that Margaret whip out her mobile phone. And if she doesn't have one, perhaps her niece will lend hers to Margaret.
Well, they were still staying at the hotel were some time ago.
They feature in locse027_simulation_five.pdf available from the following post.
They also feature in the following document available from the forum post listed below it.
That idea is not about localizable sentences, yet I found that being able to use the continuing characters and the scenario from the previous simulations was helpful in the creative writing of that simulation.
William Overington
20 April 2013
Received on Sat Apr 20 2013 - 13:32:51 CDT

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