Google Translate vs. the Humans – theory, practice, and practicality

Op-Ed Contributor

I, Translator

Stephen Doyle

EVERYBODY has his own tale of terrible translation to tell — an incomprehensible restaurant menu in Croatia, a comically illiterate warning sign on a French beach. “Human-engineered” translation is just as inadequate in more important domains. In our courts and hospitals, in the military and security services, underpaid and overworked translators make muddles out of millions of vital interactions. Machine translation can certainly help in these cases. Its legendary bloopers are often no worse than the errors made by hard-pressed humans.

This is a nice look at Google Translate, the theoretical and practical approaches to translation, and the unlikelihood of ditching human translators for the foreseeable future.

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