Re: word usage

Subject: Re: word usage
From: Scott Havens <SHavens -at- ELCOTEL -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 3 Mar 1999 15:20:30 -0500

You're right, it does cause a lot of problems, especially when any type
of machine translation enters into the process. Quite a few years ago,
I worked for Xerox Service Education in Webster, NY. (I still have fond
memories of running the snow blower from one end of my driveway to the
other, then starting all over again because the wind and new snow had
already rendered my initial pass useless. Ah, yes, those were the
days!) Anyway, Xerox had its own propriety "dictionary" known as
"Multinational Customized English (MCE)." One of the big features of
MCE was that, whenever possible, a given word was limited to one meaning
and was allowed to function as only one part of speech. Obviously,
there were a few exceptions (words that simply could not be constrained
that much). You also would have had a problem using MCE for casual
conversation, given its limitations, but you _could_ write technical
documentation in it.

MCE really helped in the initial computer translation pass. Native
speakers would, of course, clean up the output by doing a comprehensive
post-edit, but starting out with a more stable, limited English text
made the process go more smoothly than it otherwise would have. The
moral of the story is that the sloppier we get with our usage, the more
problems we're going to have with translations (not to mention
misunderstandings by speakers of English who don't happen to follow our
particular brand of jargon).

(who finally wised up enough to flee from the tundra of Upstate NY to
the sunny shores of Tampa Bay, FL)

Rebecca Merck said:

> This noun/verb thing sure looks like it could cause translation
> problems, as well...

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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