Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 5th Feb 2018 23:04 UTC, submitted by Morgan
Google

Such a development would cause a soul-shattering upheaval in my mental life. Although I fully understand the fascination of trying to get machines to translate well, I am not in the least eager to see human translators replaced by inanimate machines. Indeed, the idea frightens and revolts me. To my mind, translation is an incredibly subtle art that draws constantly on one's many years of experience in life, and on one's creative imagination. If, some "fine" day, human translators were to become relics of the past, my respect for the human mind would be profoundly shaken, and the shock would leave me reeling with terrible confusion and immense, permanent sadness.

As a translator myself, I can indeed confirm Google Translate is complete and utter garbage, but the idea that I would "mourn" the end of translators seems outlandish to me. The unstoppable march of technology has eliminated countless jobs over the course of human existence, and if translators are next, I don't see any reason to mourn the end of my occupation. Of course, it'd suck for me personally, but that's about it.

That being said, I'm not afraid of running out of work any time soon. Google Translate's results are pretty terrible, and they only seem to be getting worse for me, instead of getting better. There's no doubt in my mind that machine translation will eventually get good enough, but I think it'll take at least another 20 years, if not more, to get there.

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avgalen
Member since:
2010-09-23

First of all: Badum tsss

Second: I copy/pasted the text from https://www.jw.org/en/bible-teachings/questions/go-to-heaven/ into https://translate.google.com/#auto/nl. I wouldn't call the result "complete and utter garbish" (Thom and I are Dutch, but please test with your own language

You can clearly see some nice things, which I suspect are user suggested. For example "Skip to content" becomes "Meteen naar de inhoud" (Immediately to the content)

You can also see some errors, especially when there is no context
* Home -> Huis (House))
* Bible teachings -> Bijbel lesgeven (bible tutoring)

But the main article, which has full sentences and context is actually translated fairly nicely.
Would a professional EN-NL translator do a better job? Surely
Would a random person that understands English and Dutch do a better job? Not quite sure
Would a random person do a better job translating instantly to-and-from 100 languages? Don't be ridiculous!

Conclusion: YEAH for professional translators, but YEAH for Google translate as well

Sidenote: I deal with translated help-pages on a daily basis and they have gotten quite good in the last two years. The pages are now (only?) produced in English and immediately published in all other languages. Professional translators seem to be used as well, but not so much to translate individual pages but to improve the automatic translation in general, basically working to make themselves unneeded for this work that nobody likes to do.

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