In a new career shift, Lady Gaga, née Stefani Germanotta, has announced that she will be taking on the role of chief technology officer (CTO) of one of the language industry’s top providers of machine translation (MT).
The former singer-actress said the shift “came from a place of deep boredom after a decade-plus of trying to out-weird other artists.” After making a household name for herself by courting controversy in various forms — for example, by wearing a dress made of raw beef to the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards — Gaga said she “is tired of competing with the way these younger singers like Cardi B and Lil Nas X are trolling everyone.”
For the 11-time Grammy and one-time Oscar winner, the obvious move was to computational linguistics. “I write songs, and that’s almost the same thing,” said Gaga. “Besides, tech leadership is really about how big your imagination is. If you can imagine it, someone else can do the hard work of actually making it happen.”
Gaga has always been interested in the marriage of man and machine necessary for this kind of work. “You can see it in all my music videos. The humor error, the glitchy stuff, the iconoclasm of futuristic tech. That’s the monster we all fear and long for. Going beyond art to actually making it happen in real life, that’s a natural progression for me.”
Gaga played coy as to which MT provider was welcoming her. “They’re thrilled, but they want to make some internal changes before they announce it themselves. Just in case it backfires and I can’t actually deliver an innovative solution to zero-shot translation for all the world’s languages.”
Traditionally, MT was trained by feeding an algorithm examples of how one language (say, English) had been translated by a human being into another specific language (say, French). Zero-shot translation is the ability of a system to translate one language into another without having specifically been trained to do so. This could be particularly difficult for languages that have very little training data available, such as Indigenous and minority languages, as well as languages with somewhat unique linguistic features. Gaga isn’t worried, however. “Most people would say MT for Finnish to Navajo is a bad romance, but I think it’s a match made in heaven.”
In her new job, Gaga has no intention of compromising her cutting-edge approach. “They’re going to be surprised,” she stated. “If I can become a rock star and a living legend — which is the most competitive job on the planet — I can certainly figure out how to automatically and accurately translate any language into any other language.”
The key, she hints, lies in her musical background. “You code so much unspoken data in music. Emotion. Innuendo. The audience gets it in an instant. It surpasses language and becomes its own thing. Machine translation just needs a music guru.”
By the time she’s done, says Gaga, Trados will accept “rah rah ooh ma ma, ga ga oo la la” in its termbase.