How Far Translation Tools Have Come

Written By: Jake Bauer | Posted: 2020-04-28 | Last Updated: 2020-04-28

Today, with over 100 tabs open at one point, I was reading a whole bunch of blog posts from others partaking in the #100DaysToOffload challenge. As you can tell by looking at my blogroll, although most blogs are in English, there are a handful that I follow which aren’t.

I have about an A2-B1 level of comprehension in both German and French. I can usually understand simple, common texts with little difficulty while reading and comprehending at a pace comparable to the speed at which I read English. Even so, most of the blogs which I follow tend to use complex or technical terms which are currently way above my comprehension level. This is where my trusty German-English dictionary, French-English dictionary, or online translation services come in handy. Using Google Translate, earlier today I was able to read a blog post by jolek78 written entirely in Italian. Take a look at how well Google Translate was able to handle this text:

A screenshot
    of Google Translate translating Italian text into English with near-perfect
    accuracy.

That reads pretty much as if a native English speaker wrote that text. I was surprised considering that, for most of my education, Google Translate was a tool not to be trusted as it would often times get things very wrong. For example, the humorous translation of the English word “preservative” into the French word “préservatif”, which actually means “condom”.

It is really cool that we can have services like this which are able to take complex linguistic constructs and translate them from one language into another with relative ease. Of course, these systems are nowhere near perfect, but they’ve certainly come a long way over the years.

This is my fourth post for the #100DaysToOffload challenge. You can learn more about this challenge over at https://100daystooffload.com.