Google Translator

24 04 2010

Google Translate is a service provided by Google Inc.to translate a section of text, or a webpage, into another language. Unlike other translation services such as Babel Fish, AOL , and Yahoo  which use SYSTRAN , Google uses its own translation software. Some say that this could lead to a revolution in modern language industry.

 The service limits the number of paragraphs, or range of technical terms, that will be translated. It is also possible to enter searches in a source language that are first translated to a destination language allowing you to browse and interpret results from the selected destination language in the source language.

For some languages, users are asked for alternate translations such as for technical terms, to be included for future updates to the translation process. Text in a foreign language can be typed, and if “Detect Language” is selected, it will not only detect the language, but it will translate into English by default.

Google Translate, like other automatic translation tools, has its limitations. While it can help the reader to understand the general content of a foreign language text, it does not always deliver accurate translations. Some languages produce better results than others. when translating English to Spanish or vice versa, we can see that even if the text is understandable and we can understand the main ideas, it is not an accurate translation. here we have a text of the back american literature writer Maya Angelou:

Languages written in Devanagari or the Arabic script and its variants can be transliterated automatically from phonetic equivalents written in the Latin alphabet.

Google translate is based on an approach called statistical machine translation, and more specifically, on research by Franz-Josef Och who won the DARPA contest for speed machine translation in 2003. Och is now the head of Google’s machine translation department.

According to Och, a solid base for developing a usable statistical machine translation system for a new pair of languages from scratch, would consist in having a bilingual text corpus (or parallel collection) of more than a million words and two monolingual corpora of each more than a billion words.

  To acquire this huge amount of linguistic data, Google used United Nations documents. The same document is normally available in all six official UN languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish), so Google now has a 6-language corpus of 20 billion words’ worth of human translations.

The availability of Arabic and Chinese as official UN languages is probably one of the reasons why Google Translate initially focused on the development of translation between English and those languages, and not, for example, Japanese and German, which are not official languages at the UN.

After giving you some information about this revolutionary translation program, add, that if we just write on it one word, the translation machine automatically gives you all the synonymous it has:

Finally, it should be worth pointing out that apart form the translation, the program also gives us the option to heard how the word is pronounce.

Information sources:

  • Google translator. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 10:54, March 21, 2010, from http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Translate
  • Google translator.Retrieved 10:40, March 21, 2010, from http://translate.google.es/#es|en|adem%C3%A1s%0D%0A

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