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Serious Bedroom Guitarist
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm really impressed with Google Translate. I've followed the area of machine translation for quite a number of years, and it's so cool a service of this quality being made available to the public for free. On a number of occasions I've really been helped out by being able to get at least the general idea of web pages in languages I don't speak.

Having said that, there's something inherently funny about machine translations. I just tried it on my blog (which is in Swedish) and although a lot comes out right, it's with a new amateuristic and quite sloppy tone of voice it didn't have before. It's a bit like it was written by a child or an immigrant...
 

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You're well aware that within 18 hours, Naren will be in here, complaining about translators and how they're horrible, etc., right?
 

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Serious Bedroom Guitarist
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You're well aware that within 18 hours, Naren will be in here, complaining about translators and how they're horrible, etc., right?
I'm sort of new here so I don't know all of your specialties - but I'm about to learn apparently :lol:
 

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Slow Money
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I'm sort of new here so I don't know all of your specialties - but I'm about to learn apparently :lol:
Its like this long, drawn out sarcastic yet serious... mess, that leaves you feeling assaulted mentally and sometimes spiritually. Youll see :lol:
 

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Premium Member
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You're well aware that within 18 hours, Naren will be in here, complaining about translators and how they're horrible, etc., right?
"Translators are horrible"? :confused: Uh, I would be insulting myself since I'm a translator.

Machine translation is horrible. English and Swedish are brothers when it comes to languages. So what about languages that aren't even remotely related such as Japanese and English?

If I start on this route, I can go on and rant forever, so I'll keep it short. But I remember the first experience I had messing around with a web translation service, I typed in the Japanese expression for "How are you?" and it gave me in English "Is it energy?" Well... hm... I guess I can see where you got that nonsense... but really? :spock:
 

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It's not lupus.
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Machine translation is horrible. English and Swedish are brothers when it comes to languages. So what about languages that aren't even remotely related such as Japanese and English?
They certainly work better in some languages than others, but you are absolutely right. It's like any machine really; you need to be able to interpret the results properly before doing anything with the output or else it's not of any use.

I tend to use them to quick-check single words I do not use frequently, but I could just as easily use a dictionary for the same purpose.
 

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Serious Bedroom Guitarist
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
They certainly work better in some languages than others, but you are absolutely right. It's like any machine really; you need to be able to interpret the results properly before doing anything with the output or else it's not of any use.

I tend to use them to quick-check single words I do not use frequently, but I could just as easily use a dictionary for the same purpose.
As long as you are aware that it's a machine translation I think it's great.
 

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As long as you are aware that it's a machine translation I think it's great.
I agree. If you don't have high expectations and you use it for closely related languages such as German->English, English->Swedish, Spanish->Italian, and so on, it can be helpful. And when you find something odd or that doesn't make sense, you should realize that it's definitely wrong. I do sometimes use an online translator for Swedish and Norwegian, but usually for single words (like Buzz)... and I don't know why since I have since then found a pretty damn good indepth dictionary that works a lot better.

The problem is that there are so many people who think very highly of machine translation. I probably get more irritated by it than most people because I've had cases where Japanese dev teams have taken their Japanese, plugged it into a machine translator, and put the English online without telling me. Then when I find this horrific grammatically incorrect, contextually incorrect nonsense, they say that it was late at night and they had to put some "new text online" as if that's a valid excuse. I've stressed to them that they should never EVER EVER under any circumstances ever use a machine translator. Even if it's an "extreme emergency."

:lol: Anyway, so yeah, it can be a useful tool as long as you understand what it can and can't do, its limitations and just how far it can go. Unfortunately most people I've met seem to think that there is always necessarily an equivalent expression in another language, which there usually isn't. Especially the further and further away you get from the source language.
 

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Serious Bedroom Guitarist
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
And don't forget all the hilarity machine translation provides. I have an instruction manual where "ac power jack" in english has become "ac force-added pike jug" (in swedish) :lol:
 

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And don't forget all the hilarity machine translation provides. I have an instruction manual where "ac power jack" in english has become "ac force-added pike jug" (in swedish) :lol:
Here is a site I found a few years back which uses Google's translation software to show just how horrible machine translation (MT) is.

Translation Party

It keeps translating back and forth from English to Japanese, from Japanese to English until it can get the same text. Most of the expressions I put into the field never ever reach equilibrium. It can be quite hilarious. :lol: Although testing it now, the software reaches "equilibrium" much much faster than it used to (due to Google improving their software, I guess), even though the translations themselves are incorrect.

EDIT: The site is still interesting, I guess, but it used to be that you'd enter a pretty basic English sentence and it would translate it back and forth over 50 times before giving up. Now it will usually get the same (yet incorrect) translation after about five or six tries. :shrug:
 

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"Translators are horrible"? :confused: Uh, I would be insulting myself since I'm a translator.

Machine translation is horrible. English and Swedish are brothers when it comes to languages. So what about languages that aren't even remotely related such as Japanese and English?

If I start on this route, I can go on and rant forever, so I'll keep it short. But I remember the first experience I had messing around with a web translation service, I typed in the Japanese expression for "How are you?" and it gave me in English "Is it energy?" Well... hm... I guess I can see where you got that nonsense... but really? :spock:
3 hours. I overshot it by 15. :lol:
 

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I have angered the Noodles
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But I remember the first experience I had messing around with a web translation service, I typed in the Japanese expression for "How are you?" and it gave me in English "Is it energy?" Well... hm... I guess I can see where you got that nonsense... but really? :spock:
is that just a Japanese idiom that means that when translated to English? i've not had much experience with machine translation, but i could see how they could get confused when translating idioms
 

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is that just a Japanese idiom that means that when translated to English? i've not had much experience with machine translation, but i could see how they could get confused when translating idioms
No, it's not an idiom. It has to do with how the Japanese language works. English is an SVO-oriented language with a moderate number of conjugations, a need for pretty much every grammatic role to be fulfilled (for example, you need a subject for your sentence), and uses articles like all other European languages.

Japanese, on the other hand, is an SOV-oriented language with much less conjugations, no need for grammatic roles to be fulfilled (you don't necessarily need a subject, an object, or even a verb), and has no articles or way to distinguish between single and plural (well, technically it does, but that would make this example a little more complicated).

So, with that in mind, the Japanese expression "How are you?" is actually more like "Are you healthy?" but there is no "you." The "you" is inferred from context. In a different context, the same sentence could mean "Is she healthy?" or "Is he healthy?" or "Are they healthy?" or "Is it healthy?" or even "Am I healthy?" (for example, when talking to a doctor). When no subject is given, machine translators always assume "it" which is why Japanese using machine translators to express themselves will oftentimes seem to be referring to themselves as "it" and to other people as "it." The word "healthy" here, however, can also mean "energetic" or even just "energy." Japanese is quite different from most European languages in that nouns can be adjectives and adjectives can be nouns.

So the machine translator is given "(healthy/energy) (is/are/am) (question)" and, although this is THE set expression for "How are you?" (literally "Are you healthy?"/"Are you doing well?"), it looked at them and used the MT rules I mentioned to interpret it as "Is it energy?" ("is it" since no subject is included and "energy" because it interpreted the word as a noun and not as an adjective).

So, although I can understand why the machine translation would make such a ridiculous translation, it just reinforces why a human mind is needed for proper translations.
 

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Serious Bedroom Guitarist
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I just got the best machine translated spam ever. It had translated "world wide web" into (in swedish) "the cyber ball pit" :rofl:

(you know the thing you put kids in to play while you are at the mall, it's ball pit in english right?)

It's now mandatory to refer to the web as the cyber ball pit!
 

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Premium Member
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I am impressed really with Google translated. I followed the zone of that of translation automatic for rather some years, and it is so cool that a service of this quality made available to become to the public free. On some occasions, I really was helped to be of capable, to become at least the general idea of web sides in languages I, speak not.

Was that said, gives it somewhat inherently amusingly around automatic translations. I have only it on my blog tried (that is on Swedish) and although much right comes out, am had not it with a new amateuristic and rather disorderly tone of the voice it previously. It is written became a bit, like it by a child or an immigrant...
Yeah it's awesome :rofl:
 
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