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The shallowness of Google Translate
By Thom Holwerda, submitted by Morgan on 2018-02-05 23:04:48

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: They should take example from
By kwan_e on 2018-02-06 05:33:07
Kinda funny they're trying to reach so many people, when only 144,000 of them can actually go to heaven.
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RE[2]: They should take example from
By Kochise on 2018-02-06 06:04:19
Source ? Pardon, verse ?
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RE[3]: They should take example from
By avgalen on 2018-02-06 06:24:50
I was intrigued and google autocompleted "jehova 144" to this https://www.jw.org/en/bible-teach...

I am not going to argue about any of this, just pointing out that your answer was longer than my Google search ;)
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RE[4]: They should take example from
By Kochise on 2018-02-06 08:57:12
At least Google translated your search into a correct answer.

Well, "is the earth flat" doesn't have provided me a... flat out answer.
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RE[5]: They should take example from
By avgalen on 2018-02-06 10:01:53
First of all: Badum tsss

Second: I copy/pasted the text from https://www.jw.org/en/bible-teach... into https://translate.google.com/#aut.... 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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RE: GT: Official Tool of Translators
By cropr on 2018-02-06 10:43:32
Belgium is a multilingual country, so as a Belgian website developer, I have to make a lot of multilingual sites.
GT saves me a lot of typing. Improving a GT translated text is much faster the writing a translation from scratch.
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Machines vs people
By oskeladden on 2018-02-06 11:49:15
People can give machines a run for their money when it comes to unintentionally hilarious translations.

Long before there was such a thing as Google translate, human translators gave use the joys of "All your base are belong to us". And more recently, they've introduced us to the pleasures of delicacies like "Stir fried wikipedia" ( http://ourfounder.typepad.com/le... ).

In a school in western Norway some years ago, a bunch of students began a letter-writing exercise in Spanish with a cheerful "Brezal!", after having looked up "hei" in a Norwegian-Spanish dictionary and selected the wrong Spanish word ("hei" in Norwegian means "hello", but can also mean "heath").
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20 years? More like 200 years
By birdie on 2018-02-06 11:56:21
Machines won't start translating as human beings do unless they start actually understanding the text which they don't and I'm afraid we'll need general AI for that which is currently nothing more than a pipe dream.
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RE[6]: They should take example from
By Lennie on 2018-02-06 12:25:15
Usually similar languages are translated pretty well.

Like Dutch, German and English (same/similar ancestors).

But try something like Japanese and English, good luck !

These are languages with different sentence structure, etc. that's really hard.
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RE: 20 years? More like 200 years
By Lennie on 2018-02-06 12:33:00
Now I don't remember the quote, but paraphrasing it basically was: technology that just seems around the corner will take a few more years than you would expect and technology that seems far away is actually closer than you think.

Predicting is actually hard. :-)

Edit here is an article that talks about the future:

https://gizmodo.com/the-ai-revolu...

Edited 2018-02-06 12:40 UTC
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