I am afraid I must confess I have never been fond of machine translators. To be honest, I have always considered them completely useless things aimed at reducing the costs of a human-quality translation and in some extreme cases taking away jobs from real Translators. And what I think is even worse, some people truly believe human translation can or wil be able to be replaced by such a thing as an impersonal, insensitive, and intuitionless machine translator.
Well then…after this sort of catartic beginning, let me say that I have been making a research trying to set aside my own prejudices and looking for positive things online Machine Translation services have…at least some of them. I would like to share my impressions with you. These are my top four online translation services.
Google Translate is still a beta service provided by Google Inc. In my opinion the bestonline translation service, its main function is the translation of texts or webpages into the desired language. It supports a truly good set of languages, and for some of them users may be asked to kindly add possible translations, especially in the case of technical terms so as to be included in future updates to the translation process.
Unlike other translation services such as Babel Fish and Yahoo which are based on SYSTRAN, Google Translate has its own translation software. The translations delivered are quite good indeed, though not perfect of course.
Of course, it also has its drawbacks, or let say…limitations. While the outcome when translating some languages is truly good enough (for instance from Spanish into English), it does not always deliver completely accurate translations, given that it does not apply grammar rules (nor human-like intuition of course) but a statistical analysis.
Another free online translator that is pretty popular these days is the World Lingo translator website. WorldLingo is a translation company which online service allows translating parts of text or complete webpages,by using the same site.
Statistics say that this machine translation software can reflect the meaning at an accuracy rate of 70-%75. I must say that I tried it out…and I was happy to see that, if not 70 %, at least it does offer an accuracy of 60%, which is a very good percentage.
WorldLingo translator supports the translation of English, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, and Spanish.
It also allows you pulling up a window with drop-down menus where you can insert special characters (such as accented letters) and selecting which semantic field the documen
t belongs to (General, Legal, Technical, etc.) Any way, do not trust this too much, your choice will not make a big difference in the outcome.
SDL is very popular among professional translators for its well-known TMs (Translation Memory) which truly put a load away of their backs when dealing with huge translation projects.
Regarding its free online translation service, something interesting I found out is that when you copy-paste your text to translate, you can choose between a machine Free Translation and a Human Translation which in some seconds gives you a quote and offers the translation done by a human being.
However, while showing a good deal of respect to professional translators, their MT application is not at all good enough for me. Actually, the level of accuracy is minimal, though of course it may help you to get an idea of the overall meaning of the translated text.
Yahoo Babel Fish
Babel Fish uses the technology of Systran. It offers the service of free online translation of short texts and webpages. It also allows including a translation box in your webpage to see it in several languages (English, Spanish, German, French, Italian and Portuguese.
Although it is in a way backed by the old quality and popularity of Systran, I must say the translations it offers are far away from being totally accurate. Users could grasp the general meaning of the text by making some effort, but in my opinion it is definetely not a really good app.