One of my interests is following the progression of automated translation technologies, and I’ve blogged on this subject before.
Recently I started getting into Twitter and realized they have an automated translation feature. I’m not sure what engine is used but I decided to do a quick test and translate one of my posts (Update: it seems to use Bing translation). I decided to attempt this after I wrote it so it’s a somewhat unbiased test.
Here is my original post, in English:
I think it’s amazing how one can study a foreign language for over a decade and not get bored. There’s always more to learn.
Now for the translated Japanese text, displayed via the button “翻訳を表示”: (my Twitter client is set to Japanese language)
私は 10 年以上の外国語を勉強し、退屈を取得しない 1 つどのように驚くべきことだと思います。いつもより多くの Theres を学ぶ。
Wow, this is really is a train wreck of translation – even worse than I expected!
From a functional point of view, I think the first sentence sort of gets across the point, despite the fact it’s totally unnatural Japanese. The second sentence is so mangled that it’s virtually useless – an enigma of words. I’d guess one of the reasons is that the parser didn’t understand the function of the apostrophe and seems to have interpreted it as a double quote!
My translation skills from English to Japanese are still a bit rough, but at least for sentences I wrote myself I should be able to come up with something reasonable, if nothing else something mashi (= better of two bad things) compared to Twitter’s nightmare translation.
So here goes:
Until there is some massive advances in translation technology I think humans will still have the upper hand here.