Lesser spotted MT specialists

Friday trivia. In one of the most extraordinary bursts of messaging I’ve ever seen on the MT list, an online forum for machine translation specialists, the eminences grises of the profession, who never usually contribute to ongoing MT threads, all reacted with unusual alacrity to a minor query from Harold Somers of Manchester University: grammatically speaking, shouldn’t you say “less used languages” in English instead of “lesser used languages”? While machine translation topics are usually restricted to PhD students asking where they can get a corpus of this or a system to do that, less-ness was suddenly more.  This must be a case of ovian mimeticism – once one elder statesperson puts finger to keyboard, all their peers feel obliged to join in. The grammar issue was not solved. And MT naturally never came into it.

Andrew Joscelyne
European, a language technology industry watcher since Electric Word was first published, sometime journalist, consultant, market analyst and animateur of projects. Interested in technologies for augmenting human intellectual endeavour, multilingual méssage, the history of language machines, the future of translation, and the life of the digital mindset.

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