Say It in German: Machine Learning

posted in: German, German Vocabulary, Informatik | 0

das maschinelles Lernen - machine learning

[Icon: Vector by Freepik]

das maschinelles Lernen – machine learning

Machine learning is a field in Computer Science that gets computers to act without giving them explicit instructions.

It’s a branch of artificial intelligence. (That’s künstliche Intelligenz in German.)

Unlike in a typical computer program, where each instruction is and has to be specified by the programmer, machine learning makes use of a set of data (the training data) to train the computer to predict certain information about other data (the test data).

There’s a nice visual intro to what machine learning is on this site. (And yes, there’s also a German version.)

Recently, AI has become popular again. There’s been a resurgence and there are more articles on the topic as AI is applied to more areas. Even chatbots rely on AI.

AI is not a field that I was interested in during my undergraduate years, as my interests in CS from the beginning had always been more geared towards security. (Though I never did take the plunge in that direction and chose to do software development instead for my career…)

Only recently have I started to take an interest in AI and its related fields, because of its potential uses for language translation.

I recently came across DeepL’s translator which uses AI for translation. I have to admit that the translations are pretty good, at least from what I have tried. As a whole, the text usually comes out more natural than what I get out of Google Translate. That’s not to say that it is perfect, because it is not.

Personally, I don’t really think that AI would be able to carry out all translations perfectly. This is simply because there are so many nuances, and we don’t give that context when we ask a computer to do a translation for us.

But I am also optimistic, and would like to see how far we can go with this technology.


Now, as for the words themselves: Maschinell comes from the French machinal, which came from Latin machinalis.[1]

Lernen comes from Middle High German lernen, Old High German lernēn, lernōn.[2] Wiktionary says that lernen is a cognate with Old English leornian, which is where we get the modern English word learn.[3]

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