Language Technology

Google Translation Community

In October, 2007, Google launched its proprietary, in-house translation service – Google Translate – marking the first time the company’s own software was used for translation. With 80 languages currently supported, their machine translator has poured over countless texts while being continuously rated by consumers who want more, better and faster translations. The tool has undoubtedly gotten better but it’s still obviously a machine. Now, Google wants to change that…and they want the world’s netizens to help.
Google Translation

Late last week Google announced that it’s introducing a campaign to crowdsource its translations. They’ve opened a Google Translation Community for anybody who can speak more than one language where they can match words, suggest new translations, compare with others, or give ratings. For those that don’t have the time to become active members of the Google Translation Community, they’ve built an “improve this translation” button right into Google Translate so that whenever any multi-lingual person sees a mistake, they can correct it. As time goes by, Google will use all of this feedback to improve its algorithms and make their translation engine more accurate.

Valentina Rubello – one of CSOFT’s very human translators – was happy to share her perspective on Google Translate:

“It’s very precise, very accurate – at least for machine translation. But, honestly, they will never be able to reach the level of human translation. Human language is a living, breathing thing; it’s constantly evolving. When I see a new word – even a made-up word – I may be able to make an accurate translation. When I see old words being used in totally new ways, still I can make the right translation. No machine, no matter how complex, will ever be able to do that.”

Whether Valentina is right or not, one thing is clear: the linguistic barriers that have separated so many for so long are growing fewer and weaker. If Google’s gamble on crowdsource-assisted machine translation pays off, they have the potential to disappear altogether.

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To read more about this topic, we recommend the following articles:

Google Wants to Improve its Translations Through Crowdsourcing, The Rise of Crowdsourcing, Google Translate

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CSOFT International is a translation, localization, and globalization services provider that helps international businesses reach out to customers around the world.