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See, this is the kind of trouble I get into (and it is even science-fiction related)

Monday, November 16, 2009

So I'm taking this quasi-required machine translation class. And we have to do a homework assignment which incorporates a chunk of software written by someone else. Software which does not handle non-English alphabets well. Or languages with lots of endings.

I assume that the prof will have us play with this for a week or two and then move on to some real software. I mean, no foreign alphabets? What is this, 1993?

Working out a system to substitute English letters for another alphabet is possible, but it's a pain, and it's not the kind of pain you learn something from. But making the software work with some language that tacks lots of different endings onto the same word? Now there's a challenge.

So what's a language that uses the English alphabet ... and lots of endings ...

Klingon, that's what! So I cheerfully grab a used copy of the Klingon Dictionary, work out some rules for the weird grammar, and turn in the homework.

Then I learn that we will be doing this project all semester.

So as punishment for being a smartass I am doing this absolutely enormous machine translation project. And since the prof didn't really tell us how much he expected, I brought the overkill in a big way and have been turning in files that are roughly the size of the rest of the classes' combined.

On the bright side, if a Klingon ever comes up to you and hands you something to translate, you know who to call.

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
AEMILIA 11/17/2009 9:50AM

    VB??? Jaymurz, what did I ever do to you?

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JAYMURZ 11/17/2009 9:39AM

    emoticon Wooo hoo! When I was getting my Computer Information Sciences Diploma (emphasis on the Dip, giggle) I had one of those classes too! Only it was way back in Visual Basic, 2002, and I had the worst Prof in history! He had actually retired the year before, and (according to him) "burned all my notes at my Retirement Party". I scraped by with a lowly 3.0 (the worst grade I ever got) and never really learned the software at all.
Happily, now I know someone to tutor me in Klingon, and then we can make a website of it in VB?

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AEMILIA 11/17/2009 8:23AM

    I already got e-mail from this guy, who offered to beta-test my software:


For people too lazy to click the link, when his son was born he only spoke to him in Klingon in the hopes of raising a native speaker.

(I should also add that in terms of child development, this really is no different from any other American kid who has one parent who speaks to them in Thai or Pashto or some other language they don't hear from anyone else. It's not damaging.)

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MORGAN!! 11/17/2009 2:38AM

    That's awesome :) And if this ends well, you might have a job at the Multnomah County Mental Health Department, who included Klingon on a list of languages that could be spoken by incoming patients.

Read the whole thing. It's "false" because the county wasn't actively seeking an interpreter, but they didn't discount the possibility of needing one. Keep Portland Weird!

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FLAMENM 11/16/2009 11:31PM

    Who you gonna call, Klingon Translators.
Your pain is our gain!

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