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Connotative Translator


What Is It? The Connotative Translator is a software tool that compares connotative meanings within denotative synonyms across languages to improve the accuracy of language translation. The Connotation Translator has not been field-tested because it requires a separate connotative database for each language.

How Would I Use It? You would use the Connotative Translator the way you would use any language translation software product. This is one of the few connotative language tools in which you would not know that Connotative Intelligence technology was working behind the scenes—except (in theory) by noticing a marked improvement in the accuracy of language translation.



In 1947, cyberneticist and linguist Norbert Wiener wrote the following:

I frankly am afraid the boundaries of words in different languages are too vague, and the emotional and international connotations are too extensive to make any quasi-mechanical translation scheme very hopeful.

Connotative Intelligence™ technology makes it possible, for the first time ever, to gain systematic access to the emotional or connotative content of words and phrases in any language.

This technology has very significant implications for the language translation industry. Machine translation does not work very well. As author Stevie Cameron remarked in Elm Street (November 2000), "The problem with these automatic translators is their hilarious literal interpretation. Helmut Kohl becomes Helmut cabbage, for example." Context evaluation modules in translation software do their best, but still must rely only upon denotative definitions of words in their databases to evaluate the surrounding text.

Warren Weaver wrote of the search for a universal interface, or interlingua:

Think, by analogy, of individuals living in a series of tall closed towers, all erected over a common foundation. When they try to communicate with one another they shout back and forth, each from his own closed tower. . . . But when an individual goes down his tower, he finds himself in a great open basement, common to all the towers. Here he establishes easy and useful communication with the persons who have also descended from their towers. Thus it may be true that the way to translate from Chinese to Arabic, or from Russian to Portuguese, is not to attempt the direct route, shouting from tower to tower. Perhaps the way is to descend, from each language, down to the common base of human communication—the real but as yet undiscovered universal language—and then re-emerge by whatever route is convenient.

Connotative meaning, "the common base of human communication," is quantified exactly the same way in any language using Connotative Intelligence technology.


Context evaluation enhanced with Connotative Intelligence technology would dramatically reduce contextual errors in language translation by evaluating statistical data associated with both the denotative and the connotative meanings of each context of each word. (An analogy would be Boolean searching. For example, if you type yellow Volkswagen—the equivalent of yellow AND Volkswagen into Google, the number of matches is two orders of magnitude fewer than if you type yellow OR Volkswagen into Google.) This would automatically eliminate most of the wrong guesses made by today’s context evaluation modules in translation software.

In short, a Connotative Translator incorporating Connotative Intelligence™ technology will enable translation software to pick the closest and best translation by matching both the denotative meaning and the synonym with the closest connotative meaning.

The importance of language translation is growing every year, especially with the increasing globalization of English, now the world’s de facto lingua franca. But quite apart from the obvious applications in official language translation, there is also the application for the translation needs of the individual who travels abroad for business or pleasure. Many travelers pack along one or more translating dictionaries or electronic translation devices. These devices cannot distinguish connotational differences among denotational synonyms. And yet it is these very connotational distinctions that spell the difference between saying, or not saying, something stupid, provocative, or embarrassing, in a language with which one is not familiar. By matching the emotional connotative profiles among synonyms in the speaker’s language with those in the target language, the Connotative Translator will spare both the speaker and the listener some offense and humiliation, while enabling more accurate communication of the desired message.

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Language translation is multi-billion-dollar industry. Language translation technology is being driven by exploding economic globalization. Connotative language translation will improve the accuracy of language translation by doing something no other language translation product can do: it will compare both the denotative meanings of synonyms and their connotative profiles to select the most accurate translation of the writer’s intended meaning.


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