01110100 01101111 00100000 01100010 01100101 00100000 01101111 01110010 00100000 01101110 01101111 01110100 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01100010 01100101
Oh, you didn’t get any of this … Would you place your life in my hands?
No matter what you see on the screen, for me it’s all down to 0 and 1, plus and minus, yes and no. There are no colors or nuances, I only know if there is electric current passing or not. The rest… the rest are things that I learned to do from you, even if I do not understand them.
However skilled the people programming me may be, my limits will always be the same. But because my processing speed is often higher than your speed of thought and the law does not reduce my working hours to 8 a day, I am used more and more, in an increasing number of fields.
Lately, you have been trying to teach me to translate. It all started with electronic dictionaries and, you must admit, I was quite efficient – I replaced these thick books in small print with a few clicks; you saved a ton of time. Then there were conjugations, declensions and idioms. Apparently, it was ever more simple, but the number of my errors was directly proportional to the complexity of your requests and my mistakes were more and more frequent.
You’ve taught me that a word can be translated in several ways and you have told me most of the possibilities… never all of them. But you were not able to tell me when I can use each and every one of them, so I will choose the most common option. It may be the silliest one, but it is the most I can do.
You must admit that I’ve really gotten the hang of simple sentences! But what about complex sentences?! Since the word order is different from one language to another and there are languages where words can be used in several ways that are all correct, I cannot quite figure out the place where the predicate should be. So in many cases I will leave them in the same order… Although my logic is perfect, the result may be illogical.
Apart from all these problems, to which you may find solutions, I will never manage to understand your word games, parables or any other figure of speech. Your language is alive and has nuances that I cannot perceive. Between plus and minus or beyond plus and minus there is nothing for me, although you understand countless other things. And no matter how hard you try you will never manage to teach me what I do not understand, so I will never be able to translate from one language into another.
But enough about me… Now imagine that you are at the theatre and the actor holding a skull says:
I’ve already lost you…
I had only managed to tell you “t” from “to be or not to be”…
Actually, this was the beginning of my speech, but I know you jumped over the first paragraph because you didn’t understand me. You understood my language just as much as I understand yours. And, to be honest, I translate what I understand.