In previous tips we saw an example of ambiguity generated by the word “May”, which can be interpreted as an auxiliary verb, a month or a female proper name, according to its position within the sentence and if it is written with a capital letter or not. It may even mean the name of a plant if written as a noun without a capital letter (may = espino).
ESI PRO will not always fail to correctly translate a sentence that includes one or more ambiguous words. Let’s see, for example, the two sentences below:
May wants to go in May. May May go in May?
ESI translates these two sentences perfectly, as you can see below:
Mayo quiere ir en mayo. ¿Mayo Puede Ir en mayo?
Again, just to be curious, we wanted to see how the other translation programs of the competition fare on these same sentences. Behold our surprise:
Puede querer entrar en mayo. ¿Puede Poder entrar Poder?
Which clearly demonstrates our point: ambiguous sentences, or those containing ambiguous words, can totally derail the automatic interpretation of a translation program, with disastrous results.
In the case of “May”, it is a particularly difficult case, and even ESI fails here. But, even if the program is sidetracked by this type of complexities, the User will always have, with ESI PRO, the ability to get it back on track with one or two clicks on the appropriate word.
That is the big difference between an automatic translation program and an interactive one. ESI PRO is the only really interactive program in the market today
The reader may perhaps wonder: How many ambiguous words are there in English or Spanish? Answer: hundreds of thousands. It is calculated that 60% of the English words are polysemic, that is, they have more than one meaning. And thousand more share, as in the case of “May”, multiple parts of speech: they can be nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions and even interjections, all at the same time. It depends on their placement within the sentence and of thousands other rules for an automatic translator to accurately identify which part of speech should truly be selected in each case.