View Full Version : A better automatic translator
09-16-2011, 02:49 PM
Those interested in automatic translators will probably find this article useful:
It is about how Google Translate works, and why it usually outperforms other automatic translators. To verify this claim, I translated a piece from English to Russian. The result was not perfect but it was very good. Here is what to do:
1) Go to http://translate.google.com
2) Specify languages, for example, English --> Russian
3) Paste (or type) the text to be translated.
4) Click on the “translate” button
The translated text will appear at once. You can just read it or cut-and-paste it into another document.
Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia)
09-23-2011, 06:21 PM
Looks good. Maybe I'll now be able to browse all those Russian sites.
02-20-2012, 09:56 AM
Wow, this is fascinating.
I use google translate a lot - where I teach. There are a lot of refugee re-settlement programs in Buffalo, many of them in the neighborhoods served by my school.
Bottom line? - we have 26 languages, other than English - represented at our school. I have eight languages represented among my students this year, besides English
The real problem with a human translator?
What happens if the translator is translating material that he/she does not understand? - e.g. the Physics or Calculus exam? - or for that matter, US or global History?
That can get really ugly - such as when I overheard a translator telling a student about a WWII question - "Why did Roosevelt institute the Lend-Lease Program to Russia?" - and the Russian interpreter turned it into "Why did the Capitalists support the Red Army with guns and planes in the Great Patriotic War to destroy the Fascists?"
and the answer - "To keep the Soviets in the War when so much of their industry was destroyed by the Nazi Invasion" - was met with a snort and the comment of "Americans prefer to let others do the dying."
which is fine, in a political discussion, but does not belong when interpreting questions in a Regents Exam.
I had to privately wonder about the fellow's attitude - what the heck had he come to America for? - but my Administration could barely understand what I was telling them about the way he was translating.
Was he correct or not? - and it was a matter of bias, I feel, not failure to translate correctly.
But, I post the lecture outlines in word format on my webpage, and my English as a second language students seem to find Google translate useful...oddly enough, given this article, I can't figure out why Spanish seems to be the language that is poorly translated - but it does explain why the Chinese students seem to like the output.
There must be a lot more technical material in Chinese-to-English, than English-to-Spanish, I guess. The Japanese translator also looks very bad - but again, it might be that much of the Japanese Technical output is in English to star with... I don't know.
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