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Archive for March, 2010

Google is taking charge of language translation

09 Mar

As google seeks to dominate all things digital, it gets one step closer.  This time with language translation.  It’s actually quite impressive to see the results.  I read this article from the NY Times and was pleasantly surprised.

Check out the translation tests that the NY Times performed,

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/03/09/technology/20100309-translate.html

Human Translation of a passage from the Le Petit Prince

On the first night, I fell asleep on the sand, a thousand miles from any human habitation. I was far more isolated than a shipwrecked sailor on a raft in the middle of the ocean. So you can imagine my surprise at sunrise when an odd little voice woke me up. It said: “Please … draw me a sheep.”
- Wordsworth Children’s Classics, 1995

Google’s translation of the same passage

The first night I went to sleep on the sand a thousand miles from any human habitation. I was more isolated than a shipwrecked sailor on a raft in the middle of the ocean. So imagine my surprise at daybreak, when a funny little voice woke me. She said: “If it pleases you … draw me a sheep!”

It’s amazingly similar!  Sure the original book may have actually been part of the training data, but you look at the other examples and Google out performs the competition most of the time.