On a tangentially related note: Topics such as the above are difficult in the extreme to convince any other human being about, unless they already agree with you somewhat, but I was very gratified today to have masaga come up after I presented Kevin Knight's survey "What's New in Statistical Machine Translation" and tell me that he's interested in pursuing MT as an M.S. thesis topic! Most exciting.
Kevin's was an invited talk delivered in August, 2003 at UAI-2003 in Acapulco. (Apropos de rien: Kevin knows about Corbin of Ember's cameo in my last of three chapters in The Lord of the... Whatever, a parody of The Lord of the Rings. I told him about my homage right after he gave this talk, in fact.)