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

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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Google Translate
by Cutterman on Wed 7th Feb 2018 22:27 UTC
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I'm completely bilingual in French & English and recently had to translate a technical (medical) paper that I had written into French.

I thought I'd give Google Translate a chance, just to laugh at the howlers, but it wasn't bad at all.

Spelling was spot on, except when there were ambiguities, and it got all the accents right. The French was rather clumsy, which needed smoothing out, but the grammar was mostly correct. The punctuation was awful, but then French does have all sorts of arcane rules.

I was pleasantly surprised at how well it did, though I probably spent more time editing than I would have done writing from scratch, but not much.

What I _did_ find interesting was that the paper came out some 30% longer - made realise how succinct English can be - e.g., no word for "siblings" in French, it has to be « frères et soeurs » (don't forget the spaces before the guillemets).


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