Reply to post: You underestimate the rate of progress,

Loose tongues and oily seamen: Lost in machine translation yet again

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

You underestimate the rate of progress,

I think.

As a translator, I've been watching google progress on and off over the last, what, 10 - 15 years. And, while I remember correctly, we were all having a jolly good time sharing "those" memorable google translations in those days. Truly hilarious, that google translate, I tell you. Then, the novelty disappeared I suppose, and we have got back to work and worrying about dwindling translation rates. Every now and then google translate would come up again with something extraordinary, worth sharing and wasting a minute or so, but that was it.


No, there's no mega-ueber-punchline, it's just that this year, I've put some texts, around 4 - 5 in total, in Russian, Polish and German into google translate, to share some movie reviews and lighter journalism pieces with people who only knew their native tongue, and I was [unpleasantly] surprised to find those translations came out either near-perfect or very good (with very few glaring, easily fixable issues). And today I've put a German bank account application through google translate too (because I'm a lazy bastard), sentence by sentence, and it is reads reasonably well in English.

On top of that, a few of my travelling friends have mentioned some translation gadgets / app combinations that let them speak and out comes the translation in the natives' tongue (we come in peace, where do you hide bitcoins / women / wine?, etc). I can't verify the quality of translation, because those apps always want internet connection and they connect to god-knows-what (plus google, of course), so I'm not having any of that. But people are happy enough.

So, looking at the developments, perhaps that combination of monkeys hitting them typewriter keys long enough to come up with Shakespeare isn't that far from the truth. Sure, you might get Shakspeer, but this is probably more than good enough for HUGE majority of "consumers".

Oh, and by the way, apparently a current trend in university translation courses is editing. Post-translation-software editing. Time to die. Or re-train as a word-processing clerk...

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