[Corpora-List] Constitution

John F. Sowa sowa at bestweb.net
Mon May 16 01:18:01 CEST 2005


I was very serious when I compared the issues in EU
terminology to the terms used in commercial businesses.

> I hope that this is meant at least partially as a tongue
> in cheek analogy! As a European citizen I would be
> really depressed to learn that all the terminology in
> the constitution was entirely constructed as a kind
> of brand-identification.

I wasn't thinking of advertising problems, but of the
problems of internationalization (or i18n as they
abbreviate it) of software programs and documentation.

> Am I hopelessly naive in thinking that some at least of
> the terms relate to concepts that do actually exist
> in all the languages of the EU?

I am certainly not an expert on EU legal terminology,
but the most difficult challenges are not with the
translation of single words, but of multiword compounds.

One early Russian to English machine translation
system, for example, would routinely produce the output
"nuclear waterfalls" instead of "nuclear cascades".
The physicists had no trouble interpreting the output,
and they even joked about it.

That system by the way was the Georgetown Automatic Translator
(GAT), which evolved into Systran, which is still in use today.
The free Babelfish service on the WWW is powered by Systran,
whose longevity is not due to the sophistication of its
theoretical foundation (on which research was stopped in 1963),
but to its now very large terminologies for handling multiword
phrases in many different fields of specialization.

John Sowa

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