A weblog by Will Fitzgerald

New Google translation software

Google is now using their internal translation software for all language pairs, and my very, very brief look at their results look good. This is very idiomatic, for example:

I was amused by calculating the number of video tags football (soccer) and rugby on Dailymotion (English pages). No doubt, soccer is more popular than rugby!

The original French (from Jean Véronis’s blog):

Je me suis amusé à calculer le nombre de vidéos portant les tags foot (ou football) et rugby sur Dailymotion (pages françaises). Pas de doute, le foot est plus populaire que le rugby !

What is amazing to me is that the ‘use/mention’ distinction is handled well without dysfluency, although an ideal translator would probably have left ‘foot’ and ‘football’ in the original French. It amuses me to see that ‘pages françaises’ is translated as ‘English pages,’ a kind of meta use/mention distinction.

Kudos to the Google translation teams. I hope people don’t beat you up too much.


3 responses to “New Google translation software

  1. Lukas October 24, 2007 at 4:14 pm

    pages françaises to English pages looks like a serious problem to me.

  2. Will October 27, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    Oh, I agree it’s an error; not sure I’d agree that it is a ‘serious problem,’ though.

  3. JF Moyen October 30, 2007 at 5:53 am

    Apparently google also translates “Sarkozy” (the french president, if you don’t know) to “Blair”. It seems to me that the translator does more than translating — it actually makes “localized” versions of the submitted text. Whether it’s a bug or a feature…

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