I am struggling to learn German.  It is not reading and writing, which surprisingly is easy in German. German like Spanish and as opposed to French or English, has clear rules of pronunciation.  What is hard, really hard, is to understand German, and this is not only because of the vocabulary and phonetics but mainly because of the grammar.  So as I struggle with German grammar I wondered if computers would find the challenge equally daunting.  I did a number of random translations using Google and Bing from German to English and from Spanish to English and voilá! translation engines also failed. Translations made from Spanish to English are of much better quality than from German to English.  Here are some examples. You can replicate my tests even if you don’t speak Spanish or German, just input the original text in the translators and see  which translations sound better in English.

Random paragraph from Die Welt

Der Ausbau der Fotovoltaik ist in Deutschland zwar ins Stocken geraten. Doch in dieser Woche feierte die Agentur für erneuerbare Energien noch einmal die gewaltigen Ausmaße der Solarstromproduktion, die Deutschland mithilfe üppiger Subventionen inzwischen aufgebaut hat.

Google Translator

The expansion of photovoltaics is indeed stalled in Germany. But this week, the agency celebrated for renewable energies once again the enormous size of the solar power production, Germany using lush subsidies has been able to build.

Bing Translator

The expansion of photovoltaics is advised while in Germany stalled. But this week, the Agency for renewable energies once again celebrated the huge proportions ofthe solar power production, which Germany has now built using abundant subsidies.

Random Paragraph from El Pais

Metroscopia detecta un claro cambio de opinión entre los ciudadanos respecto a la amenaza del terrorismo yihadista después de los atentados de París contra la revista Charlie Hebdo, que causaron un gran impacto en todo el mundo y también en España.

Google Translator

Metroscopia detected a clear change of opinion among citizens regarding the threat of jihadist terrorism after the attack of Paris against the magazine Charlie Hebdo, which caused a big impact around the world and also in Spain.

Bing

Metroscopia detects a clear change of opinion among the citizens about the threat of jihadist terrorism after the attacks in Paris against the magazine Charlie Hebdo,which caused a great impact worldwide and also in Spain.

Cloud computing concept with copy space Most of what we store in the cloud is for contemporary consumption. But some files, like the pictures of my 1, 3 and 8 year olds I want around throughout their lives. In the past this meant preserving a photo album. Now their memories will be in data centers around the world facing significant threats over the next 100 years. Some of the threats are physical, but the most significant threat is cloud company bankruptcy. Like how can I be sure that Facebook will be alive for as long as my kids. That is why I would be more confident if cloud companies had cloud insurance. Should your favorite social network dissappear Prudential Insurance for example, would keep their data centers running your kids memories preserved. In the meantime I store at Facebook, Google, Flickr and Apple. Paranoid? No, I just want to make sure our family history doesn’t dissappear when somebody pulls a plug on a company that everyone loved 50 years before.

(Photo credit: Pentestmag)

What follows here is a warning, a thought, an unlikely outcome but one that the EU should be concerned about.

I worry about the Russian angle of the Greek crisis.

I think that the only opportunity the EU has to force the Greeks to keep the debt deal they agreed to before Syriza rose to power is to threaten to dry up the Greek banking system overnight. Trust in Greek banks by Greek citizens is currently evaporating. Greek banks are already experiencing a run. But my concern with this move is that it would make EU and especially Germany look cruel and insensitive and that  Putin may seize the moment, step in,  and provide the liquidity the Greek banks need to be solvent.  Emerge as a savior in the eyes of the Greek people.  He could do to the EU what he did to Ukraine, cut it in two with a piece of it that responds to him.  Moreover this move could cost Russia nothing, he could bring the euros in to make Greece solvent as a guarantee,  and then take them out in a few months. Because Greece can function if it doesn’t have to pay it’s gigantic debt. Greece can have an external and internal surplus very quickly.

The EU has a consensus driven voting system by which a single member state can block policy for all of the EU. Having one member state on Russia’s side would mean a great deal to Putin. The unanimity that is so needed in making EU policy would be broken by Greece. A Greece that votes as instructed by Putin would be an enormous problem for the EU and USA. And remember, there is no mechanism to expel an EU member. All of Greece could become Putin’s Trojan horse.

Likely? No, especially now that oil prices have collapsed.  Possible? Yes.

Español / English


Subscribe to e-mail bulletin:
Recent Tweets