September 2, 2013
WAIT: Are we using Google Translate to interpret Syrian communications intercepts? Can this be true? I find the 2003 claim harder to believe — Google Translate was awfully new then — but then again, now that we know how thoroughly in-bed Google has been with the NSA. . . .
UPDATE: An insider emails:
First off, the idea is truly laughable. It doesn’t happen (at least not in my agency).
With respect to the link, it is somewhat ironic that Marinka Peschmann seem to ‘mis-translate’ what David Kay says. In reading his words about Google Translate, it is pretty clear that he is using it as an example that there are no perfect translations. Especially with a language that has dozens of regional/ethnic dialects, and targets that may be using codewords. Very often linguists, even native ones, can disagree on translations.
I can’t find a video, but I would love to see it, as I would bet the house that he is trying to make an example of the pitfalls in interpreting complex foreign languages, not declaring that the U.S. Govt uses Google Translate to translate vital intel (which it doesn’t)…
One hopes not.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Note the update in the linked report: “Google Arabic didn’t launch until 2005.” So this is pretty much an Emily Litella report. Never mind.