Can Google Translate check for understandable output

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bombobuffoon
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Can Google Translate check for understandable output

Postby bombobuffoon » Mon Apr 15, 2024 3:38 pm

As part of my routine I produce a lot of sentences typically from English to Finnish. I use Google Translate (or other services) to do a quick check whether or not my sentence matches my translation.

I know and understand very well that Google Translate is not any use for validating sentence grammar, and natural speech and writing, and so forth. For that end I use natives to manually check. I can rely on people for checking 5 to 10 sentences a day.

However I am happy enough it turns out, if my sentences are understandable. Whilst ideally I would have a human checking my 100s of daily sentences - in practice its acceptable for me to be producing understandable output.

The question is, in your experience does Google Translate produce understandable translations from your writing? Can it be used for the purpose of checking understandability?

Or is there another way; is there a better way without involving a human? How do you validate 10000 sentences?
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Re: Can Google Translate check for understandable output

Postby Cainntear » Mon Apr 15, 2024 4:02 pm

Google Translate is designed to go for the most likely intended meaning. As such, it is more likely to produce an understandable translation from a meaningless source text than vice versa. As such, understandable output from GT is not an indication of a valid sentence.
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Re: Can Google Translate check for understandable output

Postby emk » Mon Apr 15, 2024 4:21 pm

bombobuffoon wrote:The question is, in your experience does Google Translate produce understandable translations from your writing? Can it be used for the purpose of checking understandability?

Or is there another way; is there a better way without involving a human? How do you validate 10000 sentences?

Personally, I would be very careful using Google Translate for this. For one thing, Google Translate lagged for many years behind DeepL (at least on a lot of texts I've tried). I actually have a few test paragraphs of aggressively colloquial French that tend to break machine tanslators. I just ran one of them through three translators:

  • Google Translate has improved a lot in the last 5 years. It used to produce broken word salad. Now, it misses one difficult idiom, and messes up a parallel construction. Not bad, but probably not useful for what you're trying.
  • DeepL produces a smooth translation, with a single major error—it messes up the same idiom as Google Translate.
  • ChatGPT 4 (the paid one, not the free one) produces smooth prose, and correctly handles the idiom that broke the other two. But it restructures one sentence in a way that subtly changes the meaning. I've seen professional human translators do worse, sadly.
But whether you see weird output prose doesn't necessarily have anything to do with whether your original input was weird. Statistical translators introduce errors of their own, but they also act to "smooth out" any statistical irregularities in their output. Probably ChatGPT 4 is the most aggressive "smoother", despite also being arguably the strongest translator.

And I definitely would not ask ChatGPT to proofread my writing. It's actually a pretty decent translator, but it's extremely unreliabe at correcting the user's errors in my experiments. For many languages, you'd actually be better off asking it to write short texts and then studying how it phrased them.
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bombobuffoon
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Re: Can Google Translate check for understandable output

Postby bombobuffoon » Tue Apr 16, 2024 7:13 am

emk wrote:
bombobuffoon wrote:The question is, in your experience does Google Translate produce understandable translations from your writing? Can it be used for the purpose of checking understandability?

Or is there another way; is there a better way without involving a human? How do you validate 10000 sentences?


And I definitely would not ask ChatGPT to proofread my writing. It's actually a pretty decent translator, but it's extremely unreliabe at correcting the user's errors in my experiments. For many languages, you'd actually be better off asking it to write short texts and then studying how it phrased them.


A different tool to ChatGPT but is this not what Grammarly supposedly makes its money from?

On a side I have found Bing chat to be quite picky when proof reading my sentences. Whilst I do not rely on it to provide accurate translations I think I trust it enough that it can tell if my sentences are broken.
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Re: Can Google Translate check for understandable output

Postby Cainntear » Tue Apr 16, 2024 9:45 am

bombobuffoon wrote:
emk wrote:
bombobuffoon wrote:The question is, in your experience does Google Translate produce understandable translations from your writing? Can it be used for the purpose of checking understandability?

Or is there another way; is there a better way without involving a human? How do you validate 10000 sentences?


And I definitely would not ask ChatGPT to proofread my writing. It's actually a pretty decent translator, but it's extremely unreliabe at correcting the user's errors in my experiments. For many languages, you'd actually be better off asking it to write short texts and then studying how it phrased them.


A different tool to ChatGPT but is this not what Grammarly supposedly makes its money from?

On a side I have found Bing chat to be quite picky when proof reading my sentences. Whilst I do not rely on it to provide accurate translations I think I trust it enough that it can tell if my sentences are broken.

Yes, but Grammarly was forced to jump aboard the AI hype train. I don't know what they've managed to wrap around the LLM, and I think they'd probably struggle to do more that anyone else, so I think they're basically relying on the name they've built making their name more trustworthy than the numerous people doing exactly the same thing.
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Re: Can Google Translate check for understandable output

Postby jackb » Tue Apr 16, 2024 1:06 pm

A different tool to ChatGPT but is this not what Grammarly supposedly makes its money from?


Grammarly is English only.
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bombobuffoon
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Re: Can Google Translate check for understandable output

Postby bombobuffoon » Tue Apr 16, 2024 2:58 pm

jackb wrote:
A different tool to ChatGPT but is this not what Grammarly supposedly makes its money from?


Grammarly is English only.


Yes, but presumably if Grammarly "works" then there exists another tool could also do the same job.
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Re: Can Google Translate check for understandable output

Postby Kraut » Tue Apr 16, 2024 3:44 pm

Deepl-Write won't help you with Finnish, it's in Beta and for German and English only, for which it seems to meet your requirements.


https://gradually.ai/tool/deepl-write/

1. Was ist DeepL Write?

DeepL Write ist ein KI-Schreibassistent, der dir hilft, bessere Texte zu schreiben. Er korrigiert nicht nur Grammatik- und Rechtschreibfehler, sondern schlägt dir auch alternative Formulierungen für Ton, Stil und Wortwahl vor. Du kannst deepl write über die Website [deepl.com/write] oder als Browser-Add-on nutzen.

Deepl Write wird von dem Kölner Unternehmen deepl entwickelt, das auch für seinen Übersetzer bekannt ist. Deepl wurde 2017 gegründet und nutzt sein eigenes KI-Sprachmodell für seine Programme.
4. Für wen eignet sich DeepL Write?

Deepl write eignet sich für alle, die bessere Texte schreiben wollen, egal ob für Schule, Studium, Beruf oder Freizeit. Deepl Write kann dir helfen, deine Ausdrucksweise zu verbessern, deine Ideen klarer zu formulieren und deine Leser zu überzeugen.
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Re: Can Google Translate check for understandable output

Postby emk » Tue Apr 16, 2024 3:55 pm

Kraut wrote:Deepl-Write won't help you with Finnish, it's in Beta and for German and English only, for which it seems to meet your requirements. At the bottom the page deals with with alternatives.

Yeah, DeepL managed to keep far ahead of Google Translate for many years. They're not some fly-by-night startup repackaging ChatGPT for gullible investors; they build their own models and they are clearly very good at what they're doing. And before DeepL, they built Linguee, which is absolutely fantastic for anyone trying to look up how to phrase something in another language.

If they say they have an AI-powered grammar checker, then I would assume it's worth careful evaluation. And they have a beta for German and English. So if anyone is in the market for either right now, they're probably worth a look.

But even for Finnish, it's probably worth looking at the Linguee English→Finnish site. To use this, you'll need to type in an English phrase, and then skim the Finnish equivalents. Usually this will give you a good idea of how a native speaker would have expressed that idea. And if your own translation into Finnish doesn't appear anywhere in the native versions, be suspicious.
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Re: Can Google Translate check for understandable output

Postby Cainntear » Tue Apr 16, 2024 4:30 pm

bombobuffoon wrote:
jackb wrote:
A different tool to ChatGPT but is this not what Grammarly supposedly makes its money from?


Grammarly is English only.


Yes, but presumably if Grammarly "works" then there exists another tool could also do the same job.

...ummmm. Probably not.
Grammarly was quite a lot of work to make, and probably relied on quite a lot of written English to achieve what it did. There's a lot less Finnish out there than there is English.
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