Is this text strangely reading? The software is to blame.

Is this text a bit odd? Maybe as if it wasn’t written by a native speaker? Or is it all okay, and the text reads fluently?

I am not only interested in the topic of Deep Learning, on which there were two lectures at the HLF today, but also in a very concrete way.

OK, this last sentence sounded a little strange now. This is because I type these sentences in German. The website translates them live while I type into English. This doesn’t work out perfectly yet, but it’s impressive, I think – the linguistic counterpart to the impressive image recognition services we saw at the lectures today.

John Hopcroft will be giving a lecture on Deep Learning at the 5th HLF. © Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation / Kreutzer – 2017

In both cases, Deep Learning is used – the software is not taught explicitly according to which rules one translates from German into English, but rather gets to see a body of text examples including translations and learns by itself how to translate certain sentences and phrases.

And even if some of the wording in this text reminds a little bit of a zebra-striped Putin on a horse, the translation is much better than a few years ago.

A zebra-striped Vladimir Putin was an example of how Deep Learning can be mistaken in the lecture of Alexei Efros. The program was only supposed to turn the horse into a zebra.

This is an important aspect of the Heidelberg Laureate Forum: on the one hand, it is about some of the most abstract things you can imagine, but on the other hand, it is also about very practical advances that we can already use online.

Markus Pössel hatte bereits während des Physikstudiums an der Universität Hamburg gemerkt: Die Herausforderung, physikalische Themen so aufzuarbeiten und darzustellen, dass sie auch für Nichtphysiker verständlich werden, war für ihn mindestens ebenso interessant wie die eigentliche Forschungsarbeit. Nach seiner Promotion am Max-Planck-Institut für Gravitationsphysik (Albert-Einstein-Institut) in Potsdam blieb er dem Institut als "Outreach scientist" erhalten, war während des Einsteinjahres 2005 an verschiedenen Ausstellungsprojekten beteiligt und schuf das Webportal Einstein Online. Ende 2007 wechselte er für ein Jahr zum World Science Festival in New York. Seit Anfang 2009 ist er wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie in Heidelberg, wo er das Haus der Astronomie leitet, ein Zentrum für astronomische Öffentlichkeits- und Bildungsarbeit. Pössel bloggt, ist Autor/Koautor mehrerer Bücher, und schreibt regelmäßig für die Zeitschrift Sterne und Weltraum.

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  1. this text didn’t feel very odd to me – maybe because I’m used to it – my colleague writes and speaks the same way…without any help of a software..

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