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Your thoughts on the quality of "premium" Google Translate?
Thread poster: Samuel Murray

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:33
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sample in Spanish-English is badly written! Dec 16, 2016

The Spanish sample in the ES-EN combination is badly written, so it is a bad sample, if you ask me. For instance, "..., llevando esta disciplina..." is gramatically awkward. If it was written originally in Spanish by a native speaker, it would probably say "...y llevó a esta disciplina...", "..., al que llevó...".

Does the service choose its own samples, or can you feed in whatever you like and produce sample translations?


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:33
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I'm "they" Dec 16, 2016

Daniel Frisano wrote:
Did they intentionally pick some mediocre translations as an example of their product, for some reason?


The "they" is me. I went to Wikipedia in each language and translated that day's feature article. This is why some language combinations are at a bit of a disadvantage, if the article is about something esoteric.

[The results] deteriorate very quickly when translating between any two languages other than English.


The premium service does not offer translation between languages that do not include English.

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:
Does the service choose its own samples, or can you feed in whatever you like and produce sample translations?


These samples are not from "the service". Hence my offer to translate something for you if you have a better sample text.


[Edited at 2016-12-16 19:34 GMT]


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:33
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
A proposal Dec 16, 2016

Samuel Murray wrote:
Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:
Does the service choose its own samples, or can you feed in whatever you like and produce sample translations?

These samples are not from "the service". Hence my offer to translate something for you if you have a better sample text.

Makes sense. How about a piece of this one: https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adobe

I daresay the text is simple enough, and I don't think it is a translation from another language.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:33
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Adobe, for Tomás Dec 16, 2016

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:
How about a piece of this one: https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adobe
I daresay the text is simple enough, and I don't think it is a translation from another language.

Here you go.


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:33
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Premium, not better than Standard Dec 17, 2016

Samuel Murray wrote:
Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:
How about a piece of this one: https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adobe
I daresay the text is simple enough, and I don't think it is a translation from another language.

Here you go.

Thanks a lot! Even with a relatively simple text as the proposed one (I spent a while selecting the simplest one I could find), Premium is not any better than Standard. Standard even makes better grammatical and terminology choices in many places. My assessment is that, if this is all the rev-up from Standard to Premium can offer... we will have a job as translators for a very long time!

Thanks a million Samuel for proposing this forum. Most interesting.


 

Henry Dotterer
Local time: 11:33
SITE FOUNDER
Japanese to English is better Dec 17, 2016

In my opinion, the "premium" Japanese to English translation is much better than the standard.

Good exercise.


 

Preston Decker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:33
Chinese to English
It all comes down to press Dec 17, 2016

Michael Wetzel wrote:

Google has a great press department, but I don't see any reason to believe that this is going to be able to deal with even marginally complex writing. The only difference is that "statistically based" has now replaced "rule-based" automated translation as the big, bad bogeyman.


I posted something about this when they debuted it last month for Chinese to English. Was worried at first that quality was approaching that of humans, but the more you look at it, the more you realize they're a long way off and may never get there.

On the other hand, what Michael wrote is very prescient: if you have enough advertising/press/social sway, you have a chance to convince the masses of almost anything. Just had a conversation with a relative last week. He knows little about translation, but thinks Google will catch up to human translators in five or ten years, based entirely on what he's heard in the media. Doesn't take much effort to imagine Google beginning to make a dent in the industry even if their translations never approach that of humans in quality. There are plenty of examples of companies with inferior products (think fast food chains and America soda companies) that use advertising to convince the world of their products' quality.

It's a shame the ATA and other institutions aren't doing more to discredit this.

[Edited at 2016-12-17 20:51 GMT]


 

Daniel Frisano  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 17:33
Member (2008)
English to Italian
+ ...
. Dec 17, 2016

Samuel Murray wrote:

The "they" is me. I went to Wikipedia in each language and translated that day's feature article.



Oh, OK, I thought those were samples published by Google themselves to advertise their product. Well, in any case, they still have a looong way to go.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:33
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Horrible Dec 18, 2016

Michael Wetzel wrote:

.....
I don't know how much the comma error (joining two independent clauses without a conjuction) is likely to bother most English readers. It is more or less standard and not problematic in German, but it is certainly not proper English, although it is possible that most people don't care.....


I care. It's horrible.


 

Daniel Frisano  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 17:33
Member (2008)
English to Italian
+ ...
Syntax in 1st DE source Dec 18, 2016

Tom in London wrote:

I care. It's horrible.


Yes, it's horrible. Actually it's one of those typical flags of a translator being stuck in the structure of the source language.

It works from DE to EN, IT, ES, among others.

Anyway, I'd like to know what a German native thinks of the very first source text ("Ab 1881 führte sie ..."). Two sentences with two different subjects connected that way don't sound fluid to me. At least a semicolon or a different phrasing would improve the style.

Of course the Premium service used again a comma in English, and that doesn't sound too good either.

But perhaps I am wrong, after all I am not native in DE or EN.

[Edited at 2016-12-18 11:25 GMT]


 

David GAY  Identity Verified
English to French
+ ...
SYSTRAN Dec 19, 2016

But I think the real threat is more SYSTRAN than google

 

Daryo
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:33
Serbian to English
+ ...
What kind of threat? Dec 19, 2016

David GAY wrote:

But I think the real threat is more SYSTRAN than google


Threat in a sense: to start churning usable translations and put out of work a sizeable proportion of translators?

Or a threat in a sense: to keep polluting number of languages by spreading rubbish translations all over the Web?


 

jnagel1000
United States
Longer documents have different translations, more holistic Dec 19, 2016

I think if you try google translate with longer documents you may see different results with better translations.

My impression is that the AI analzyes the whole document and then makes the translation.

In short, the entire industry will be obsolete quite soon.

AI is already superintelligent and is getting smarter at an exponential rate.


 

David GAY  Identity Verified
English to French
+ ...
to start churning usable translations and put out of work a sizeable proportion of translators Dec 20, 2016

to start churning usable translations and put out of work a sizeable proportion of translators

 

ph-b (X)
France
Local time: 17:33
English to French
+ ...
Worrying. Dec 20, 2016

Francis was right to highlight the flaws of the French to English versions but the ‘standard’ English to French version is fine for understanding purposes and the ‘premium’ version is very good.

Regarding the ‘premium’ version, (a) some will argue that the names of both armed forces should have been translated into French – as is the case in one of the ‘standard’ versions, incidentally - or that a French translation should have been provided in brackets next to the
... See more
Francis was right to highlight the flaws of the French to English versions but the ‘standard’ English to French version is fine for understanding purposes and the ‘premium’ version is very good.

Regarding the ‘premium’ version, (a) some will argue that the names of both armed forces should have been translated into French – as is the case in one of the ‘standard’ versions, incidentally - or that a French translation should have been provided in brackets next to the English names; (b) ‘large’ hasn’t been translated; (c) the use of opérer will no doubt raise a few eyebrows but (regrettably?) it is used like this in aviation texts nowadays (incl. Air France's), probably under the influence of English, and finally (d) ‘à la mi-2006’ and ‘en dehors de’ are perhaps a bit awkward, though not incorrect. Grammar and syntax are faultless.

Be it as it may, the ‘premium’ version could have been written by a native speaker of French or by a translator (first draft before proof-reading).

I don’t know if and to what extent the translations are representative of what Google Cloud Translation can do with a not too technical text, and I’d like to see how it would handle a contract, for instance, or indeed a literary text, but what Samuel is showing us here is worrying.

It may well be that some segments of our profession will be more affected than others but that's generally not good news: if Google Cloud Translate is able to do this today, what will it achieve tomorrow? Whether we like it or not, and I don’t, it’s something that we have to reckon with and I share David’s concern: why pay a translator if a (cheaper?) machine can produce this?

Time to train as a machine-translation editor? I hope not.
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