Google Translate has become almost usable

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I’m very impressed with the progress Google Translate has made.

A few years ago I was asked to translate a book from German to English and as an experiment and in the hope that this would save me at least some of the tedious (and boring) backbreaking work, I sent the text through Google Translate . The result was unusable; the necessary post-editing would have taken more time and effort than a complete re-translation. Since then, I’ve only used the service to create short Facebook posts or comments, or emails, in French or Dutch, which I then edit; I find it harder to write in both languages ​​than to speak, but due to extensive reading I have a good feel for the languages and can edit the translations a bit.

Yesterday I wanted to translate an article about the Ascension of Christ, and because I am currently bedridden, I am somewhat restricted in terms of typing on a keyboard, so I sent the article through Google Translate .

To my astonishment, the result was vastly better than my experience of a few years ago. While there were a few glitches (snippets of text that had gone missing, a few bits that were gibberish for one reason or another), overall the text was quite readable. Most of the post-processing involved formatting.

This raises a similar question for me as using the ChatGPT AI engine . Most of the time ChatGPT answers questions correctly and in such elegant German and English that one can use them almost without editing; would it then be ethical to pass off such an answer as my own? In the end I decided to either attribute the answer to ChatGPT , or (if I’ve significantly edited or added to it) to call it a result of my collaboration with ChatGPT .

The more Google Translate (or other similar services) improves, the less post-processing is needed, the more problematic it becomes to pass off such a translation as my own. Again, indicating support from the translation service seems to be the ethical solution.

Next, I will try other translation services, such as Bing Translator from Microsoft or Deepl Translate , as well as ChatGPT for shorter texts (which currently has an output limit of 2048 characters per answer, even for paying subscribers).

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Gender Craziness

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I guess I am about to wade knee-deep into controversy, but this article highlights beautifully the bizarre mess of the current gender change fad:

Matilda Simon, the 3rd Baron of Wythenshawe, is tipped to stand in a by-election to replace the Liberal Democrat Viscount Falkland, voted on by all sitting peers, with entries closing on May 15.

If successful, they would become the only woman, self-identified, among the chamber’s 92 hereditary peers, despite holding a title because they were born a man

I am basically with Jordan Peterson on this:

While I reject any legislative or other attempt to compel me to use terminology contrary to a person’s biological sex, usually I will, out of politeness, voluntarily address a person by the name and the gender pronouns (masculine/feminine) the person prefers. I will not, however, use any pronouns which imply the existence of more than two genders or the absence of gender.

Particularly I find the abuse of the plural “they” to refer to a singular person an intentional and ridiculous degeneration of the English language

  • If one accepted gender change as real, one should refer to this person as “she”;
  • If, on the other hand, one rejected gender change as real, one should refer to this person as “he”.

Beyond this grammatical travesty I agree with the women criticizing this person:

  • If she is a woman she should not attempt to claim a position reserved for men;
  • If he wants to claim that position he should stop claiming to be a woman.

In any case, s/he should not appempt to have his/her cake and eat it, claiming a trans privilege over biological women.


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What does “FTP” stand for?

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In my reading in recent months I have come across a lot of new acronyms such as, for example, “BLM“. One that recently caught my attention, because I use it a lot, is “FTP“. This is, apparently, a ruder and more comprehensive variant of “Defund the Police“, being shorthand for “f*ck the police“.

This puts me in a quandary, because, as I said, I use this acronym a lot, in its original meaning of “file transfer protocol“, a venerable part of the standard UNIX/Linux networking tools.

So I wish to make it very clear, lest anyone misunderstands:

Whenever I use the acronym “FTP” in a neutral or approving manner, I am referring to the File Transfer Protocol, its various implementations across different operating systems, and the action of using such implementations to transfer files. Sometimes, because there are actually more convenient ways of transferring files, I may even use the acronym in a negative or disapproving manner to refer to the file transfer protocol and the apps implementing it.

Only very rarely will I use the acronym FTP in its contemporary “political” sense because I am opposed to abusing words in this fashion, and I am opposed to abusing the police. When acts of police brutality or other illegal actions by police officers happen (and I have no doubt that they do because policing involves the exercise of power and that attracts people with a pathological desire for dominating others), there are more effective and suitable means of dealing with it than the obscene suggestion implied by “FTP”.


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