Google Translate and Machine translation

By Slava
Jan 16, 2010 · 3 min
Google Translate (GT) is a popular translation service provided by Google to translate a word, a phrase, a section of text or an entire web page into one of 51 languages mentioned below. It can even provides translated search i.e. one can search a particular keyword in a source language in the target language websites for content and have it translated back into source language. The keyword is first translated into the target language and then the search is conducted in that language. Once the relevant web pages have been found, it is translated back into source language. For translation of a word or phrase you can enter it online in a text box and have it translated instantly into any of the listed target languages. GT may directly translate the text into the target language in case of popular languages or go through English as an intermediary language in case of lesser known languages. The following is the list of languages that GT can handle as of now: Afrikaans, Albanian, Arabic, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese (both traditional and simplified), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Filipino, Finnish, French, Galician, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic. Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Malay, Maltese, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, Welsh, and Yiddish. Google has developed its own technique of translation through GT. The algorithms are based on statistical analysis instead of rule based analysis. The system depends on a solid corpus of equivalent words in the target and source language. This enormous data is sifted through using statistical models. Initially Google used UN documents to build the database. That is probably the reason why translation was made available between English, Chinese and Arabic, all official languages of UN in the beginning. Franz-Josef Och is the head of machine translation department of Google and is well known for building speed machine translation tools. Google constantly updates the database through user feedback. Alternate translations particularly for technical terms are solicited from users for inclusion in future updates. Since GT does not apply grammatical rules, accuracy may be sacrificed in some cases for speed though it can help in a general understanding of the text. Also accuracy depends on the size of the database between the source and target languages. Languages in non Latin alphabet like Devanagiri and Arabic script are transliterated through phonetic equivalents in the Latin alphabet. By adding the Google’s website translator into any webpage, instant access to translation of the webpage can be obtained. Google offers a translation bar that can be embedded in to any web page for translation in real time. Alternately using Google Toolbar, just moving the pointer over a word in English would display the equivalent word in the language of your choice. Client for GT is a free translator that can translate text in Windows application like MS Word, Outlook, Internet Explorer, Firefox etc. To sump up GT is one of the most popular free translation tools available for instant translation of web pages that can help in general understanding of the text.

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