Biggest Google Translate Fail

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White Belt
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Re: Biggest Google Translate Fail

Postby Pinecone » Thu Oct 31, 2019 6:54 am

Andrikonic wrote:I was curious about this for quite some time - do you use it and how is it for you?

Yes, I use it. When I started learning Nepali five years ago, Nepali wasn't one of the languages it supported. If I recall right, they added Nepali later that year. At first it was quite poor at producing accurate translations of single words. Over the past year especially it seems to have improved. I use it to speed up the process of typing words in Nepali that I enter into my review system. While I can type using Devanagari, it takes longer. What I do is enter the English word in Google Translate and then cut and paste the Nepali word to my word log.

Shooting from the hip, it seems like it gets 85% of the words reasonably right. I may have to adjust the spelling or click for an alternate word from time to time but it is still a help. I like that it can help confirm the meaning I was given from my tutor. If the two don't match up I know I need additional points of input on the word and meaning before studying it. Sometimes Google Translate helps bring out meaning nuances to go back over with my tutor.

I don't have a big translation fail that stands out in my mind but now that I know this thread exists I'll be on the look out for candidates! :D
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Black Belt - 3rd Dan
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Re: Biggest Google Translate Fail

Postby Iversen » Thu Oct 31, 2019 7:05 am

I actually did a speech about Google translate and its vagaries in Berlin in 2016, and afterwards I wrote a thread named "A couple of suggestions to Google Translate from a heavy user" with some examples I had found during my preparations. The purpose was not to mock GT, but to point out some areas where it could be improved without compromising the automatic exploratory model which is the basis of its construction - mostly simple things like putting at least one big dictionary per language into the beast so that it stops doing idiotic translations because it meets unknown words. As the title indicates I'm a heavy user, but only one way: I don't trust it enough to use it to produce texts in my target languages, but I do use it to make bilingual texts for study. This allows me to work on texts that normally would be too difficult at my current level in the different target languages, and then it is less important whether it makes silly errors as long as I can spot them - and you can spot most of GT's errors because they are so obvious.

I'll quote one example from that thread. The original text comes from the homepage of Reykjavík Park and Zoo:

Sauðburður er hafinn. (...) Ærin Surtla bar tveimur hrútlömbum og ærin Melkorka bar þremur gimbrum snemma morguns þann 4.maí.
GT: Lambing is underway. (...). Aerials acid bar two ram lambs, and there are clear Melkorka bar three ewe early on 4.maí.
correct: Lambing is underway. (...) The ewe Surtla bore two ram lambs and the ewe Melkorka bore three ewe lambs in the morning on the 4. of May.

"Aerials acid bar two ram lambs" should awake the suspicion of any language user - and it exemplifies the idea that most errors of Google are relatively innocuous precisely because they are too gross to go unnoticed. In fact "ærin" means "the (mother)sheep" - it's an irregular substantive. Surtla is a proper name, as evidenced by the capital letter - it is related to the name of Surt, the god of fire in the old Norse Mythology, not to súr (sour as in acid) - and as a proper name it should not be translated. And then "bar". In the original it is a form of the irregular verb "bera" - neither a place to have a drink nor an oblong object of some kind.

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Yellow Belt
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Re: Biggest Google Translate Fail

Postby seito » Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:57 am

It used to translate "I apologize for my poor Japanese" into the Japanese equivalent of "I apologize to the impoverished Japanese people."
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Re: Biggest Google Translate Fail

Postby Bluepaint » Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:14 am

seito wrote:It used to translate "I apologize for my poor Japanese" into the Japanese equivalent of "I apologize to the impoverished Japanese people."

Ouch, I bet you were popular :lol:
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Re: Biggest Google Translate Fail

Postby Clingwrap » Sat Feb 06, 2021 10:39 am

Four proud figures appeared one after another, perfect octave.
Thanks, general. Who wants to be friends?
Anis is a novice, nothing more. this was the first paragraph of harry potter
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