Translation platforms cannot yet replace humans … but they are still astonishingly useful

Translation platforms


8 July 2017 – Last week we attended a Google Research workshop in Zurich, Switzerland on Google’s quest to “end the language barrier” and a signifiant part of the program was devoted to non-English e-discovery document reviews. Two of the “Googlers” who work at Google’s e-discovery unit at Mountain View, CA were there.

As we have noted in past posts, we have come a long way toward making automated language translation easier, faster and more reliable, but a world of seamless and immediate translation is still out of our grasp.

But … it is getting better and better with Google, Facebook, IBM and Microsoft all devoting gobs of money to perfect instant, seamless translation, with Google, IBM and Microsoft creating special legal translation units. In the 1960s the first machine translation architectures were developed by IBM based on mathematical models.

The Google engineers had a simple premise: to translate one language into another, by finding the linear transformation that maps one to the other:

“We have developed a technique that automatically generates dictionaries and phrase tables that convert one

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GDPR triggers demand for EU Data Privacy Officers … with an opportunity for consulting firms and law firms




Catarina Conti

Eric De Grasse



6 December 2016 – The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is set to replace the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC effective 25 May 2018.



Although many companies have already adopted privacy processes and procedures consistent with the Directive, the GDPR contains a number of new protections for EU data subjects and threatens significant fines and penalties for non-compliant data controllers and processors once it comes into force in the spring of 2018.



With new obligations on such matters as data subject consent, data anonymization, breach notification, trans-border data transfers, and appointment of data protection officers, to name a few, the GDPR requires companies handling EU citizens’ data to undertake major operational reform.



GDPR (Article 37) acknowledges the value of “privacy on the ground” by requiring designation of a data protection officer. Readers on our EU job lists have seen the spike in data protection officer job postings. They are in high demand … and difficult to find.



But Article 37 does not establish the … Read more

Trying to spot sarcasm? How about a little vector space mathematics to help.




Gregory P. Bufithis, Esq.

Sarcasm is almost impossible for computers to spot. A mathematical approach to linguistics could change that.

20 October 2016 – Back in 1970, the social activist Irina Dunn scribbled a slogan on the back of a toilet cubicle door at the University of Sydney. It said: “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” The phrase went viral and eventually became a famous refrain for the growing feminist movement of the time.

The phrase is also an example of sarcasm. The humor comes from the fact that a fish doesn’t need a bicycle. Most humans have little trouble spotting this. But while various advanced machine learning techniques have helped computers spot other forms of humor, sarcasm still largely eludes them. These other forms of humor can be spotted by looking for, say, positive verbs associated with negative or undesirable situation. And some researchers have used this approach to look for sarcasm.

But sarcasm is often devoid of sentiment. The phrase above is a good example — it contains no sentiment-bearing … Read more