Google Translate Versus Human Translator – Winner Take All

ROFL 02-03-2015

When we need something translated, most of us turn to Google Translate Travelling With Google Translate? 4 Tips To Improve Your Experience If you plan on travelling to a foreign country anytime soon, Google Translate can really help you, but it has its limitations. Here's how to best make use of this wonderful app. Read More as a way of getting it done quickly and easily. Google What's Happening In The Google Labs? Surely you've heard of the Google Labs, it's a place of imagination where some of the coolest possible products of the future are in the works. Read More has spent a great deal of time and resources developing its translation software, and compared to most others out there, it works extremely well.

But how does Google Translate compare to a professional human translator? If put in a battle, can Google out-translate a trained individual? The team at Verbalink decided to put it to the test, and they’ve detailed their findings in the infographic below!

Via Verbalink

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Explore more about: Google Translate, Infographic, Translation.

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  1. Valerie
    March 2, 2015 at 11:46 pm

    I have been using Google translate extensively to translate philatelic books in Czech into English. I've also translated one lengthy book chapter from German. Czech is much harder to translate because the language is much less like English than are languages like French or German.

    I very much agree with the test results. On a word for word basis, Google does a pretty good job (with occasional exceptions.) However it lacks considerably in being able to make meaningful sentences from those translated words! I often have trouble figuring out what the original intent of the sentence was and sometimes I fail completely. Fortunately I have friends who are native Czech speakers and who are willing to help now and then. Still, Google gets better every day while the humans have little chance of significant improvement. The difference will no doubt shrink in time and probably sooner than we think.

  2. Jamie
    March 2, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    Surely cost is a weakness? What about instant availability? At 3am?

    Match the tools to the job. Sometimes the craze for Infographics results in content that doesn't warrant the creation time.

  3. Matthew
    March 2, 2015 at 9:42 pm

    How could human translation not win?
    It would be fair to compare Google with a person who is bilingual, but not a professional - and even then, I'd expect the person to win.

    On average though, if I'm trying to look something up on a foreign language website, I can usually read a google translation without it being too jarring, though experience with the kind of mangling common to autotranslation means you end up instinctively filtering it out.

  4. Gabor
    March 2, 2015 at 9:06 pm

    It depends on the languages used to translate, how good google translate. I think between english and german it works quite well, bit between hungarian and any language it is almost useless, still better to translate word by word, then out the information together.

    • Gerry
      March 3, 2015 at 12:48 am

      Yes, Spanish seems relatively easy for machine translation; it was also the language used to demonstrate the new Skype simultaneous interpreter. Google Translate seems to do a pretty reasonable job with it, if one only needs the general thrust of the text. On the other hand, Google Translate is pretty much worthless for written Japanese.

  5. Rahul
    March 2, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    I believe when it comes to skills which involve technical as well as abstract quotients then humans will win over computer for a good 60-70 years more......

  6. Pete Dooley
    March 2, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    I can't wait to turn my driving over to Google...

    I was trying to perhaps show little translational consideration to a Spanish speaking friend/client using Google translate. He was flummoxed ( I didn't use the word flummoxed), stunned and, eventually after the apology, saw the humor and at least effort in the attempt.

    I found a good test is to take whatever is translated into whatever language and allow Google to translate it back into English and see if it has any meaning at all.

  7. Hildy J
    March 2, 2015 at 4:35 am

    Well, duh. Or, as Google translates it, "Bueno, duh."

    If you have a need for accurate translation for something like a website, I would recommend increasing your costs by hiring two translators and then discussing both translations with both translators. Especially with anything technical (legal, medical, scientific, technological, etc.) the abilities of a translator will vary and just like you run English copy past an editor you should run translated copy past a different translator.

    The cautionary tale for all is the old Chevrolet car, the Nova. Nobody realized when they went international with it that "No va" means "doesn't go" in Spanish.

    • Nerdebeu
      March 2, 2015 at 9:57 am

      @Hildy J

      "I would recommend increasing your costs by hiring two translators and then discussing both translations with both translators. "

      I quite agree. And I would add that a translation service can be better in one direction than in another.

      Google is best to translate English to French, while Bing is much better to translate French to English.