Language translation has gone way beyond than mere English subtitles on your Frontier Cable TV and Netflix. You can actually translate sentences, phrases, and even large text chunks. How? With Google’s efficient product called Google Translate. This technology is based on neural machine translation (NMT) as well as human contribution through its Translate Community.
Google took the whole process of translation to the next level with its new Pixel Buds. These are wireless headphones, which are essentially synchronized with your smartphone. They can translate a speech from 40 different languages out-loud in real-time. This revolutionary invention is going to help us cross language barriers with this instant translator like never before. This blog post is for keen learners who want to explore how Google Translate works.
The Revolutionary Technology behind Google Translate
To understand NMT, you will require a little background knowledge. In a nutshell, that’s how NMT works:
- NMT makes use of millions of sentences, which have been previously translated by people.
- It makes links. Such as number agreement and gender between various words at the sentence level.
- It learns to translate sentences with similar structure in the future.
GNMT (Google Neural Machine Translation), launched in November 2016 was a significant advance on all previous methods of machine translation.
Google Translate Community
The Community works on the same basis as Google’s Local Guides. The guides that provide info and reviews like opening and closing times as well as prices for restaurants, cafes, and various attractions on Google. This Translate Community comprises of volunteers who review these translations and then offer short ones of a few sentences.
Almost 3.5 million volunteers have made around 90 million contributions so far. They are fed into the machine that translates. The translation machine ultimately helps it learn even more.
However, GNMT is still in the learning phase. It doesn’t pick linguistic subtleties, which are perceptible to the human ear only.
The Quality of Google Translate
If you want to know about the quality of translation, it depends on different factors. For instance, the content that you need to translate, the language pair in process, and the usage of this translation.
Google itself researched about the quality of its NMT (neural machine translation). It revealed that the translation’s quality concerning the Indo-European languages was exceptional. However, for language pairs like English and Chinese, the quality standard was not that good and required improvement. Moreover, the quality of the translation was better with simpler and shorter sentences. But not as good with complex ones.
Can You Rely On Google Translate?
If the users need to understand things, which involve basic language, they can rely on Google Translate. This includes asking directions and basic info as tourists, eatery recommendations, and other such things. However, if the users have more sophisticated needs or the text to translate is more nuanced, then the internet translation won’t cut it.
Moreover, if the text includes terms specific to a locale, only a human translator with a sensitivity to cultural norms and linguistic nuances of the source countries and target languages can help you. if you rely on Google Translate for these complex translations, don’t be surprised with humorous translations with damaging impacts!
Also, the translations offered by Google Translate may sound correct grammatically. But they have the potential of being misleading others because it tends to obscure the errors. If the translation of sentences is incorrect or the words are missing, a non-bilingual has no way to figure out if sentences will read well.
Since Google Translate is a free tool, you can use it effortlessly. It has facilitated people who are traveling to countries with a different language. It also allows people to understand sentences, documents, and even whole websites. But it’s not very efficient and one shouldn’t rely on it if the purpose is professional or serious. Don’t think that Google Translate has a team of multilingual elves working in the background. They are just bits of human contributions.
Think about those billions of documents and millions of patterns, which ultimately lead to the translation you requested. And the fact that it all happens in the blink of an eye is commendable. You can’t even find out whether your state is in Frontier service area in such a short time. Even that online search will take some time. But the translation mechanism of Google Translate works in seconds.
We’ll be looking forward to an improved version of Google Translate!