Google Translate

web and spider crawling down

A web of problems: Why Google Translate and website translation can’t marry

It is not news that machine translated websites are penalized by search engines. Google has developed its technologies on the back of reliable bilingual website crawling and freely available public data. After ditching rule-based engines (Systran) back in 2006, it embarked on a mission to use statistical machine translation (SMT) as a byproduct of its own data analysis. Websites that use machine translation to inform users are crawled and aligned, but those alignments provide data that adds dirt (read: uncertainty) which worsens the probabilities and hence the output (read: the translation). That is why Google Translate and website translation can’t marry. A machine translated website will be penalized by Google, for it is dirty. It is also a proof of laziness on the part of those responsible. The search giant wants to analyze natural, human data. We recently bumped into an article on Slator.com that got our feathers all aflutter. […]

3 reasons for a multilingual Joomla, WordPress or Drupal website and 7 things you should not do

by Manuel Herranz and Alex Helle If you are one of those people who believe that operating in English (or your national language and English as the default international language) suffices to talk to the rest of the world… we regret to inform you that there is a huge misconception in the way you approach the global marketplace. There are powerful reasons to have a multilingual Joomla, WordPress or Drupal website and I would like to help you understand why. A few months ago we reported in this blog on a study by the European Union that pointed to the fact that 90% of users preferred to visit websites in their own language. The survey, conducted by Gallup, found that Internet users in 23 EU countries prefer browsing and making purchasing decisions in their native languages. You can visit the link above to download the full PDF, but if you […]

5 tips to translate a website in many languages and embed it in your business strategy

by Manuel Herranz Large enterprises and even SME’s around the world are realizing how important it is to translate a webpage in many languages. 1. A free website translator isn’t simply enough. It may do the job fairly well if you just need to understand a website in another language, but that kind of automatic translation is not good enough when you are looking to attract customers. 2. Free website translations published as good content send the wrong message to your potential audience. Google can be quoted as the best example. The search giant is very aware that it is the search engine of choice used around the world and it needs to be available to everyone. Since there are still billions of people who can’t read English or understand it, Google provides the option of translating websites and search results into the language they are familiar with – but […]

Machine translation: Can it be used to translate travel industry content?

by Manuel Herranz There have been strong opinions for and against machine Translation over the last few years. Whilst the general public has become a keen user of free online services, professional translators have poured bitter criticisms against the technology. Understandably, because the language industry is a small industry compared with other sectors where automation took place years ago (automotive industry, printing, telecommunications, to name a few). The Internet and in general any industry based on electronic communications has added to the increase in demand for multilingual websites, which means more translation for eCommerce sites and website translations. There are many supporters of machine translation technology because of the many advantages and problems it has solved where a translator could not be at hand and human translation was not an option. See the video celebrating Google Translate’s 10 years. But it has also gained something of a bad press, particularly […]

Google Translate error: we thought Russia was Mordor

Google Translate errors have become a kind of popular culture joke (see our previous entry about the “clitoris festival” in a Spanish town). Some years ago, it proved unable to translate President Obama and it kept naming him “Bush”. This was due, at the time, to the larger amount of data linking the words “President” and “Bush”. Now, Google provides another interesting translation error. Google Translate is one of the most widely used translation tools worldwide. We have to say  that Google has had the good taste to offer its product in mobile applications, and even applications for smartwatches in addition to the web version. It is extremely convenient to use and it has become a reference tool for translation professionals and users of translation services at least to discern or understand texts in foreign languages. And let’s be fair, Google Translate’s machine translations are often of good quality considering […]

Google Translate error from vegetable to clitoris

Thanks to Google Translate error Spanish town calls for clitoris festival

Google Translate error mistranslates Galician vegetable food festival and makes town the world’s laughing stock There are 11,000 inhabitants in Spain’s town of As Pontes, Galicia. This is the rainy, Atlantic North West. Portuguese language and Portugal herself broke away in the Middle Ages as a separate country, but Galician and what later become Portuguese are closely related languages. So close, it seems, that Google Translate was having a hard time telling them apart. And due to the naivety of some town officials, what was meant to be a culinary festival celebrating the local grelo, became the world’s joke. The leafy green vegetable similar to broccoli but without the large head, also popular in Italian cuisine, was mistranslated for a Portuguese slang word. However, this small town has become rather famous because it has been marketing a very different kind of festival for the last few months. A Google Translate error […]

For Europe, no (new) CAT tool is good enough

by Manuel Herranz And why should it be? Decisions coming from Brussels tend to be misunderstood, shallowly analyzed or directly criticized whichever way the wind blows. Let us remember 2010’s first ever report on the Size of the Translation Industry in Europe, which was a very comprehensive view of the current status, country by country, and facts and figures into several areas, even if revenues could only take into account certain activities. It also contained words and forecasts from personalities in the industry. Liking reports is like choosing a favorite color – everyone has one liking. Nevertheless, it set detailed information where there was none. However, the decision not to award the contract to any CAT tool in the market points to a very clear state-of-affairs in the language industry: despite massive innovations in computing (from open cloud to internal or managed clouds: Eucalyptus (built on Amazon EC2), OpenNebula, the […]

Minority languages also make it to Google’s Statistical MT

by Manuel Herranz Google has just added five new languages to its machine translation platform: Azerbaijani, Armenian, Basque, Urdu and Georgian. You can find the five of them on Google Translate. These new languages bringing the total number of languages on Google Translate to 57. These languages are still in alpha status, though. The translations maybe less fluent than other languages as Google has gathered less data to feed its statistical machine translation system, but they should still help you understand the multilingual web. “Good working languages” are those for which Google could find a lot of bilingual, aligned data. These included initially the 6 languages of the United Nations (English, French, Spanish, Chinese and Russian) because the UN had released large sets of parallel corpora which contained sentences aligned from one language to another. Google also used parallel corpora from the European Union and other institutions which had released large amounts […]

Now the real-time photo-to-translation video from MWC

Those of you who found our previous post “Google’s image-to-text translation in Barcelona” interesting, here’s the link to the show as it happened (life translation into English from a German menu picture). Also the promise (more difficult) of Star-Trek translation Thanks Jordi for the link. Next time you think languages, think Pangeanic Translation Services, Translation Technologies, Machine Translation

Translation guys should not miss Google’s predictions

by Manuel Herranz This will not be a long article or comment, as the source speaks for itself. There is very interesting food for thought in the line of this month’s Pangeanic’s blog posts. The article is a 3-page conversation with Senior Exec Alan Eustace on Innovation Strategy and the Technology. You need to read all 3 pages (slowly and digest them) in order to get the full picture. I quote the most interesting bit for translation professionals (there are more interesting quotes) “Machine translation will become ubiquitous and as good as human translation, so the language barrier will be gone. All mobile devices will have speech input. Having all local information—maps, directions, and so forth—will be commonplace.” Now, how’s that for clarity and committed statements? What are the implications for translation companies and the whole of the Translation Memory-dependent industry? (If you need the source, it is page 3 following […]