Investigating language in the machine translation: exploring Yorùbá-English machine translation as a case study


Clement Odoje


Department of Linguistics and African languages, University of Ibadan, Nigeria


Computers now translate human language without having any understanding of it. How does this happen? The answer to the question is the concern of this paper. This paper opines that even though the machine could only count and match for translation, the deficiencies seen in its translation are not majorly computer’s rather the exploration of language acquisition. The paper explores two opposing views on language acquisition and used them to explain the processes of machine translation using Google translator and Ibadan on-going SMT research as an example. It concludes that when a human can adequately explain human language acquisition then there could be an answer to modeling machines to master human language for translation.


machine translation; language acquisition; language and environment

Publication Date

October 1, 2014


Volume 4, Issue 1

Citation information

Odoje, Clement. 2014. “Investigating language in the machine translation: exploring Yorùbá-English machine translation as a case study.” Language. Text. Society 4 (1): e17-e26. (Journal title at the time of publication: SamaraAltLinguo E-Journal.)


author = {Odoje, Clement},
title = {{Investigating language in the machine translation: exploring Yorùbá-English machine translation as a case study}},
journal = {Language. Text. Society},
year = {2014},
volume = {4},
number = {1},
pages = {17–26},
url = {},


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