Google continues to work on its machine translation—both the quality of the translations and the number of their products using it. In the last year, they’ve added translation to the Google Toolbar and Google Reader, and now Google Docs joins the translating fold.
To translate a document into one of the 42 offered languages, open it and go to Tools>Translate document.
In the official announcement on the Google Blog, Associate Product Manager Intern Rita Chen recognizes that machine translation still has a long way to go. However, I’m happy to report that there have been some improvements, at least since Google Reader got its translation feature.
I used a bilingual blog to test GR’s translator. I took the translated posts to compare the translation quality:
|Google Reader translation, 11 Nov 2008||The last time I drew one of these kiosks to buy you a coffee without getting in the car was not stopped anyone to buy anything. But this time I was lucky and it went through two cars, which is in the parking lot of North Sound Vineyard Church.|
|Google Docs translation, 29 August 2009||The last time I drew one of these kiosks to buy a coffee without get off the car did not stop anyone to buy anything. But this time I was lucky and two cars passed by it, which is in the parking lot of North Sound Vineyard Church.|
|Blogger Gabriel Campanario’s original English version||Last time I sketched one of these drive-thru coffee kiosks nobody stopped to buy any drinks. I lucked out this time and two cars went by this one, which is on the parking lot of the North Sound Vineyard Church.|
Obviously, there is still a long way to go to get machine translation, but the last nine months have shown at least a little improvement in the automatic translation.
But here’s the real question: can you understand this translation?
On Friday the paper would not normally go up in the afternoon because I work different hours. People on the bus tends to be younger, most students who go to the campus of the University of Washington. ¶ While he was on the bus I thought about doing this drawing bad luck that Halloween has fallen on a Friday this year. I missed the trick or treating with my kids. My consolation is that at home we seem to be on Halloween from a month ago, when my child who is 3 years old, began to get all their costumes all hours of the day: bee, dragon and tiger, which is the that was the end. My child, who is 5 years old, disguised himself as a Transformer, which is called Optimus Prime. (Gabriel Campanario’s original English version)