What words with multiple meaning have you come across? Are they nouns, verbs, prepositions or ... ? Name some of them

Most of the science students think that nearly every word in English has just one meaning. This is, of course, completely contrary to the fact/A glance at any English dictionary will show this. The student will frequently find seven or eight meanings listed for quite "simple'' words. Why do they make such a mistake? One reason may be because they are science students. Scientists try to use words in their special subject which have one meaning and one meaning only. Practically all the students think that every word in English has an exact translation equivalent. Again, this is far from the truth. Sometimes one word in English can only be translated by a phrase in the student's native language. Certainly, the idea of a one word for one word translation is completely false. Translation machines which tried to work on this principle failed completely.

A great number of students believe that as soon as they know the meaning of a word, they are able to use it correctly. This is untrue for any language but is perhaps particularly false for English. Some words in English mean almost the same but they can only be used in certain situations. To make life easier you can go out right now and buy a machine translation system for anything between $100 and $100,000. But how do you know if it's going to be any good? The big problem with MT systems is that they don't actually translate: they merely help translators to translate. Yes, if you get something like Metal (very expensive) or GTS (quite cheap) to work on your latest brochure, they will chum out something in French or whatever, but it will be pretty laughable stuff. All machine-translated texts have to be extensively post-edited (and often pre-edited) by experienced translators. Analyzing the errors made by MT systems is inconclusive because it may only show that different systems produce similar numbers of different error types. For example, one of the researches conducted in Stuttgart found that one large system could cope with various complex verb-translation problems in a relative clause of a sentence, but it fell apart when trying to do exactly the same thing in a main clause of a sentence.

Good human translators produce good translations; all MT systems produce bad translations. But assessing machine translations as good or bad is very difficult because such judgments cannot -be made scientifically. Better tests are needed to monitor linguistic weaknesses in MT systems. One traditional assessment technique involves a bunch of people scoring translations on various scales for intelligibility ("Does this piece of English make sense as a piece of English?"; accuracy ("Does this piece of English give the same information as the French original?"); style, and so on. The things are different in Japan, though. The Japanese have a few independent MT training schools, which are said to be very-efficient But the European specialists share the opinion that a reliable MT system is unlikely to be available this century.

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Девятый текст

Stop the World!

The fax is spewing out a 50-page document, the mobile phone is ringing again, there are 20 e- maiis to answer to and the Internet has found 11,000 articles on the subject you are researching. A recent survey commissioned found that a lot of managers questioned were suffering from information overload and that new technology, instead of making their job easier, was causing stress, less job satisfaction and a greater degree of illness, such as headaches and stomach pains. Almost all the managers believe the Internet is making the situation worse and admitted they were unable to handle the amount of information they receive on a daily basis and said that dealing with so much information frequently meant staying late at work or having to take work home. Our ability to generate information has simply exceeded our ability to review and understand most of it, let alone to decide on priorities. More information has been produced in the past 30 years than in the past five millenniums. The fact that not all of it is of equal importance means that it needs to be sifted first. The growth of computer technology is also fuelling la worldwide 'epidemic' of shyness. We are at the beginning of a new fice age' of noncommunication. The growing use of e-mail and the disappearance of jobs such as shop assistants means that face-to-face conversations are becoming a rarity and it may well soon be possible to go through the entire day without talking to another person directly. Less and less time is spent on personal hobbies, holidays and with friends and relations. We are sending information but not conveying emotion. Computers have eroded the opportunity for small talk and this means that people now feel they need a serious reason to start an everyday conversation. From Reuters Business Information Survey

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Десятый текст

Have I Told You Lately That I Hate Windows?

Windows has again made my life hellish. A couple of weeks age I had a significant event with my computer. It left me feeling helpless and out of control For years, as I've been using personal computers and becoming a technology expert, I've been able to believe that I was in control. Now I realize it was all an illusion. When my computer crashed on Friday, May, 28, it dragged my dreams down with it. And it is Microsoft's Windows which is to blame. This operating system is so complicated that it has become unusable by mere mortals or even by geeks* like me. Windows was bearable when the thing controlled just my desktop - now that it's the chokepoint between me and the Internet, it's unmanageable. My journey into digital despair began when I bought a new computer and then tried to upgrade some software. Windows has become so complicated that it is nearly impossible to switch from one Windows computer to a newer Windows computer without losing at least some configuration information — and some key personal data. Windows does next to nothing to make it easy for you to move configuration data from one computer to another. My problems weren't limited to switching computers. I recently bought a new hand-held organizer, the Palm V. Installing its software was simple. But being a good geek, I thought I'd better upgrade to an even more current version of the software. When I did so I made one stupid mistake: ignoring the software's warning to be sure the Palm V's cradle was connected to the computer while I upgraded. Since I ignored that warning, the software reconfigured my computer in a way that neither I nor even our IT specialists at work could change. That stupid little upgrade error started the deluge. One failure cascaded upon another. I couldn't collect my e-mail or update my schedule. I couldn't update my financial accounts or pay my bills electronically. I couldn't synchronize my personal information with my Palm V, I lost faith in the fabulousness of personal computing.

*a geek— here: a stupid\ inexperienced user By Stewart Alsop, Fortune,July 1999


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