Josselson, H. H.

Automatic translation of languages since 1960: A linguist's view


Language was considered just a "bunch of words" and the primary task for early machine translation (MT) was to build machines large enough to hold all the words necessary in the translation process. These means included the printing out of the several possible solutions of ambiguous text segments to let the reader decide for himself the correct meaning, printing out the ambiguous source language text, and other temporary expedients. Particularly one must understand the rules under which such a complex system as human language operates and how the mechanism of this operation can be simulated by automatic means, i.e., without any human intervention at all. The second problem, the simulation of human language behavior by automatic means, is almost impossible to achieve, since language is an open and dynamic system in constant change and because the operation of the system is not yet completely understood.