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Welcome to TokyoFreePress Monday, December 22 2014 @ 06:12 AM CST
   

Once again about Yahoo! Japan's automatic "Translation" service

In the June 1 TFP story, "Yahoo! Japan's translation service is telling evidence of problems facing Japan with languages, IT and beyond," I discussed the same issue. But now I'm coming back to you with another example of the chimp's translation.

This time he was told to work on my recent piece titled "Please stop bullying me, bad bear, or I'll kill myself." The chimp gave me back this parallel translation in 15 seconds.

Again I'm taking the liberty to quote the first several paragraphs below here on the assumption that Yahoo! Japan won't find it insulting, just like it took the liberty of having the translation software of Cross Language Inc. destroy my sentences, perhaps on the same assumption.


(Note) You may not have a character set on your PC that supports these Japanese characters, but if you have one, that won't make any difference in the face of the chimp's language.


Please stop bullying me, bad bear, or I'll kill myself
私(悪いクマ)をいじめるのを止めてください、さもなければ、私は自殺します
Thursday, June 09 2005 @ 09:28 PM
2005年6月09日木曜日@午後9時28分
Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto
貢献しました:Y.Yamamoto

A long time ago, kids living in the mountainous areas were told by their parents and grandparents that the only effective way to protect themselves, when they encountered a hungry bear on a mountain path, was to pretend they were dead. In fact these kids didn't have to be told that.
大昔に、山岳地帯に住んでいる子供は、彼らの両親と祖父母によって、彼らが山道で空腹のクマに遭遇したとき、身を守る唯一の効果的方法が彼らが死んでいると偽ることになっていたと話されました。実際、これらの子供は、それを話される必要はありませんでした。

When the kid reaches out for a spider, the bug will instantly go for a tactic that biologists call a "protective mimicry." The kid wasn't going to eat him. So he doesn't really care whether the spider is actually dead, or still alive. But the kid will certainly learn the lesson: there is no other way for the timid spider to go for in the face of a crisis than to act as though he is dead - workable or not.
子供がクモへ手を伸ばすとき、バグは生物学者が「保護的擬態と呼ぶ戦術を取りにすぐに行きます。」、子供は彼を食べそうではありませんでした。それで、彼はクモが実際に死んでいるか、まだ生きているかどうか、本当に気にしません。しかし、子供はレッスンを確かに学びます:まるで彼が 働かせられて 死んでいるように、行うより別の臆病なクモが危機に直面して行く方法がありません。

Japanese leaders have certainly learned the same lesson from spiders. And this is the only way to explain their total inability to take quick, resolute, sensible actions to the mounting problems facing them abroad, and at home.
日本のリーダーは、確かに同じレッスンをクモから学びました。そして、これは彼らと海外で向き合っている上っている問題に、そして、自宅で速い、断固とした、分別のある行動をすることが彼らの総できないことを説明する唯一の方法です。

The only thing that makes these self-proclaimed leaders distinguishable from spiders is the fact they make up one imaginary issue after another to distract the enemy's attention from the real and more imminent issues. The list of the false issues they have fabricated in the last couple of years includes:
これらの自ら主張したリーダーをクモと区別できるようにする唯一のものは、彼らがまた敵の注意を本当でより差し迫った問題からそらすために1つの想像上の問題を作るという事実です。彼らが最後の二年間に作った間違った問題のリストは、以下を含みます:

- Whether Junichiro Koizumi should refrain from revisiting the Yasukuni Shrine,
−小泉純一郎が靖国神社を再訪問することを控えなければならないかどうかに関係なく、
- Whether Tokyo should impose economic sanctions against Pyongyang,
−東京が平壌に対して経済制裁を課さなければならないかどうかに関係なく、
- Whether the junior-high history textbook that allegedly "whitewashes" and "glorifies" Japan's wartime atrocities should have been approved,
−伝えられるところでは日本の戦時残虐行為を「取りつくろっ」て、「称賛する」ジュニアハイ史教科書が承認されなければならなかったかどうかに関係なく、
- Whether Japan deserves a permanent seat at the UNSC,
−日本がUNSCで永久の席に値するかどうかに関係なく、
- Whether the "war-renouncing" Constitution should be rewritten,
−「戦争を捨てること」憲法が書き直されなければならないかどうかに関係なく、
- Whether the Japan Post should be privatized and split up into four,
−日本郵政公社が民営化されなければならなくて、4に分裂しなければならないかどうかに関係なく、
etc.
その他。

The list goes on and on, but practically every "issue" listed here is nothing but an exercise to fake an alibi for their inaction.
リストは続けて行きます、しかし、実際的には、ここでリストされるあらゆる「問題」は彼らの怠慢のアリバイを模造する運動だけです。


If you have a certain amount of Japanese literacy, this must be self-explanatory, but in case you are not Japanese-literate, I tell you this is as though you gave an English-Japanese dictionary to a chimp. It's really appalling to know this is what we have achieved here after all the effort to develop language translation systems in the last 3 decades.

Since the days I first fell in love with the computer some 40 years ago, I've never gotten hooked on Information Technology, as such, because IT is nothing more than a tool. If anything else, the computer is also something to be likened to a mirror that precisely reflects what its user really is, judging from what he is using it for as a tool.

Likewise, a language, mother language or foreign, is a tool with which to communicate thoughts and feelings among each other. As I argued in the September 1 TFP article "English education in Japan," learning a foreign language cannot be a goal in itself. In a nation where the people are not used to forming their own opinions using their own brains, learning how to use the tool of communication is totally useless. That doesn't help a bit. Instead, it only mirrors what these millions of me-too English learners really are.

I've just singled out here how my TFP article was destroyed by the Yahoo! Japan's translation system. But since one and the same system is always at work on the web-pages for search results, every time you feed the ape with any English sentence, he will just take a bite and chew it up.

You may say I'm just nitpicking over an unimportant thing. But as a one who has had a lot of experience working on computer-aided language translation, I'm sure wherever you let a computer system destroy languages, both source and "target" languages at the same time, the way the Yahoo! Japan's system does, it's not only the computer system, but the entire System that is dysfunctional. Likewise it's not only the languages but also the entire society that has been destroyed.

I think it's much more symptomatic of the root problem underlying the nation's disease than it looks at first glance. That's why I've volunteered to point this out.

Many still argue that Japan will reemerge as an economic superpower sooner or later and to that end, its aspiration to become an IT superpower will play a pivotal role. They go on to say that Japan should also be able to communicate with the international community "even" more effectively. But in all likelihood, these are all pipe dreams, unless Japan comes to before long.

Talking specifically about English education in Japan, it's no wonder we are looking more and more like chimps who are given the English dictionary, thanks to those cheap, but pricey, "English" classes at the likes of AEON or NOVA.

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