Charlie Bavington - C Bavington Ltd

French to English Translation Services

Meeting translation needs since 2003

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Anachronistic, but...

"I say, Jeeves."

Picture of Jeeves and Wooster at breakfast>


"What's this bally incomprehensible nonsense?"

"It appears to be a communication in French, sir."

"French, eh? Why can't these foreign coves speak English like everyone else?"

"I am given to understand, sir, that when ladies and gentlemen whose native tongue is not English attempt to communicate in that language, the results are occasionally less than satisfying."

"I see. The thing is though, Jeeves, that I haven't a dashed clue what this person is trying to tell me."

"This problem is not without a solution, sir."

"It isn't?"

"No, sir."

"Ah. I know. I'll just shove it into that ChatGPT I keep hearing about. Have it done before you can say 'la plume de ma tante', what?"

"Regrettably, sir, that may not be the ideal solution."

"Not what you had in mind, then?"

"No, sir. If I may draw a parallel?"

"Draw whatever you like, Jeeves, with my blessing."

"Thank you, sir. I was merely going to draw a parallel with my own role, that of gentleman’s gentleman."

"A role you are frightfully good at Jeeves. As I was saying to the chaps at the Drones only yesterday."

"Thank you again, sir. My point was going to be simply that, were I to become indisposed or unavailable, I would venture to suggest that sir would be exceedingly unlikely to call upon the services of an automaton."

"No fear, Jeeves. They might make a passable job of painting doors for motor cars, but I wouldn't trust one with the Wooster dinner service."

"Indeed not, sir."

"No, well, you fellows have had years of training and experience and so on. A chap knows where he is when his gentleman's gentleman is a trained professional, what?"

"Quite so, sir."

"So what exactly is the snag with this, what's it called again, artificial intelligence? Explain it to me as if I had been dropped on my head as a small child."

"Well, sir, in essence, AI chooses what it computes is statistically most likely to be the closest translation."

"So it only dishes up what it thinks is probably right? Not what definitely is right?"

"Sir is most perspicacious in terms of consequences; however, the device can in no way be said to 'think', sir. If there is 'intelligence', it is that the output, to use the technical term, gives the illusion of having been produced by an intelligent being. It appears most convincing. There is, however, no true intelligence involved in the process per se, sir."

"Something of a mis-thingy-whatsit, then, what?"

"Indubitably, sir."

"So if we cannot rely on AI to come up with the goods, what are we to do, Jeeves."

"You will recall sir, a moment ago, you alluded to trained professionals in the métier, as it were, of gentleman's gentleman. There are also, sir, trained professionals who are able to render the communication you are currently holding into your mother tongue, sir, thereby enabling you to fully comprehend its contents."

"That sounds like a splendid idea, Jeeves, one of your best yet. You wouldn't happen to know any of these chaps, would you?"

"If sir would care to peruse the menu above, I think that sir will find all the information he requires readily available."

"You're a marvel, Jeeves."

"Thank you, sir."

Charlie Bavington is a freelance translator living in Barnet, North London, specialising in Information Technology and other topics indicated here.

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