Object 2: Google Translate

May 26, 2021


Figure 2: GoogleTranslate

The English phrase “I like eating food” was translated to Hindi using GoogleTranslate. GoogleTranslate produced this linguistic knowledge based upon its algorithm . However, a native Hindi and English speaker found that GoogleTranslate’s Hindi phrase was translated to “I like eat food,” grammatically incorrect linguistic knowledge. This translation shows how reliability can be judged differently via artificial intelligence versus human intelligence which further highlights the reliability of knowledge generated through technologically which is interesting from a TOK perspective.

This GoogleTranslate example displays how the machine generated translation captures the idea of the original phrase. However, its coherence is limited by the difference between “I like eat” and “I like eating.” The GoogleTranslate algorithm reliably directly translated, word-for-word the phrase however overlooked the grammatical intricacies as it uses machine learning not human cognition. Spoken languages and their grammatical structures are highly sensitive to geographical and temporal context as well as the interpersonal dynamics between any two people talking. GoogleTranslate’s unawareness of geographical or social context when translating may be judged as unreliable as it’s technology cannot currently use emotion as a way of knowing to determine most suitable translation for a given context.

On the other hand, GoogleTranslate can be perceived as reliable despite its inability to structure and phrasing. Language may be interpreted in numerous ways and is not always a rational “1 + 1= 2 situation.” In one language, there may be many ways of phrasing the same idea, depending on context, personality or dialect. Some knower’s may argue that GoogleTranslate’s “I like eat” is a mistranslation, however some native Indian groups may speak in this non grammatically correct manner showing that perceived reliability can differ even within a group of native Hindi speakers.Thus, a feature of knowledge affecting perceived and actual reliability would be perspective and ways of knowing used when producing knowledge.

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