Translation, Machine Translation, and a Crowded Seminar


I gave in several places a talk entitled “Analytic and Probabilistic Properties of Boolean Functions.” This is a fairly large area so the talks can differ quite a bit. The lecture at the NYU CS theory seminar was described over a Chinese blog entitled (according to the automatic translation) “Notes from Math Library”.  The posting is in Chinese and I used Google translation which gave me this:

Gil Kalai’s Seminar

Hebrew University of Jerusalem last Thursday, and Yale University professor Gil Kalai come Courant Institute speaking seminar. You may have some recollection of the name, because I have a Notes from “Test Your Intuition” in reference to his blog “Combinatorics and More”.

Usually during the same period of the “theory seminar”, where more than 15 people are already rare, but this time Prof. Kalai speaking seminar attracted 38 people to come. Usually there is space left in the room suddenly a full-house, there are several people sitting listening to underground.

Prof. Kalai gave a three guess one of the more accessible and interesting, you can talk about here…

and here is a small expert from the Hebrew translation:

בדרך כלל בתקופה המקבילה של סמינר “תיאוריה”, שבו יותר מ -15 אנשים כבר נדיר, אבל הפעם פרופ ‘קלעי מדבר הסמינר נמשך 38 אנשים לבוא. בדרך כלל יש מקום השמאלי בחדר פתאום הבית מלא, יש כמה אנשים יושבים האזנה תת קרקעית.

פרופ ‘נתן קלעי שלוש משער אחד נגיש יותר ומעניין, אתה יכול לדבר על זה כאן.

Perhaps you can look at the Chinese version and test how good the translations are.  One thing that I liked about the English translation is that it refers to my conjectures as “guesses”. Certainly, this shows that the Google-translation involves deep understanding. (Here is a blog description of a similar lecture at LA.)  One of the “guesses” refers to old conjectures by Itai Benjamini, Oded Schramm and myself about noise stability of monotone Boolean functions in TC0. I will discuss these conjectures in a later post. 

So what are these people listening to the talk  “underground” about? I will explain just after the dividing line.  Continue reading