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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RE: Translate is horrible
by FlyingJester on Tue 6th Feb 2018 00:14 UTC in reply to "Translate is horrible "
FlyingJester
Member since:
2016-05-11

Or perhaps it is already achieving its intended purpose. It allows someone with zero understanding of a certain language to translate a very basic gist of a paragraph, getting at least a basic understanding of the passage.

Any words that seem completely incorrect can be exchanged for alternatives until something resembling sense can be made.

Of course it's not as good as a real translator. But it's free, it's instant, and infinitely better than simply staring at an unfamiliar language and knowing nothing of what it means.

Reply Parent Score: 11

Earl C Pottinger Member since:
2008-07-12

This!

I don't use Google Translate to read poetry.

I don't use Google Translate to read my favorite SF in it's original lanuage.

I use it to read science/technical papers to see if there is interesting research. And for that it works.

For other stuff I understand even the translators themselves sometimes can not agree on how sentences should be translated. Heck, as an anime fan I find it hard to explain to some English speaking friends what I mean when I reference something that is clear in Japanese but does not translate 1-to-1 in Western culture.

Edited 2018-02-06 15:48 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 6

Carewolf Member since:
2005-09-08

Actually, I would think Google Translate is a lot better at translating poetry than actual novels, especially SF ones

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Translate is horrible
by Poseidon on Wed 7th Feb 2018 00:39 in reply to "RE: Translate is horrible "
Poseidon Member since:
2009-10-31

The basic gist is OK for a translation of a 3 word phrase, but if you're trying to translate a page or a sign (a feature that they market as one of the major features), or taking a picture of something complex and with depth such as an essay or a colloquial use of language, it fails horribly.

My uses are more scholar, to which Google Translate is not suitable and definitively misses the contextual analysis of languages, a very important issue when translating things longer than one sentence or with subtle variances in syntax and regional use of words.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: Translate is horrible
by Vanders on Sat 10th Feb 2018 11:26 in reply to "RE[2]: Translate is horrible "
Vanders Member since:
2005-07-06

The basic gist is OK for a translation of a 3 word phrase, but if you're trying to translate a page or a sign (a feature that they market as one of the major features), or taking a picture of something complex and with depth such as an essay or a colloquial use of language, it fails horribly.

Not in my experience. I moved the Netherlands, and do not speak anything like sufficient Dutch. I've used Google translate to translate letters from both the local council & the Dutch tax office, and it did an adequate job of allowing me to understand what the letter was about, at least enough for me to home in on the important parts and translate those more accurately.

Google Translate is also perfectly adequate for translating most web pages (via. Chrome's "Translate to..." functionality).

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Translate is horrible
by sj87 on Fri 9th Feb 2018 16:56 in reply to "RE: Translate is horrible "
sj87 Member since:
2007-12-16

Or perhaps it is already achieving its intended purpose. It allows someone with zero understanding of a certain language to translate a very basic gist of a paragraph, getting at least a basic understanding of the passage.

Translating languages is basically just a proof-of-concept for something much greater – that is teaching machines to understand our communication.

This feat is a cornerstone for integrating robots into our society not only as mere translators but our servants in daily life. Business-wise the applications would have no limit.

Reply Parent Score: 2