Machine Translation Round 2: Popularity Contest

A few weeks ago, we published two articles related to machine translation (MT) and they seemed to have inspired some of our readers who seized the opportunity to write in that direction. Livemocha published a review of Facebook Translation tool by Emily Matthews, echoing our own article on that topic, but taking a different angle for her analysis.

Similarly, after the publication of our MT comparison study, 1-800 Translate came up with a nice little application on their website.

We tried the latter and it’s a pretty cool system. You enter your source text and get the results from 3 different MT tools (Google Translator, Bing Translate and Systran). You might be surprised how the translations given differ! Even funnier, especially if you don’t have a good command of the target language, is the reverse translation feature. This translates your results back into the original language, so basically it goes language A>language B>language A.

Upon reading them, you will definitely want to think twice before using automatic translation. I had some hilarious reverse translation results while trying it. Misunderstanding generators or machine translation?

What’s more, you can also vote the results up or down, depending how happy you are with the translation suggested. Who will receive the best scores? We already have an idea, but let’s be fair and give each MT tool a chance.

Since us users are lazy, the auto-detect feature is nice and knows what language you write in. Too bad that Systran is not ready for that – you must select your source language manually if you want to get its results. Furthermore, Systran and Bing do not support as many languages as Google, so if you pick a language combination slightly too exotic, i.e. Swedish-Welsh, you obtain only one result to rely on (and hope for the best.)

May the best MT win! Or the least bad one…

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