Sunday, February 18, 2007

Help Improve Google's Translation

Google fancy algorithms more than human editing and that's why all most everything, from search results to advertisement delivery system, are all automated. But when it comes to languages, Google might need some help from humans to make it sound more natural. One of the ten things Google found to be true, is The need for information crosses all borders. According to Google,

"Google's mission is to facilitate access to information for the entire world. ... That is why they also offer a translation feature to make content available to users regardless of their native tongue and for those who prefer not to search in English. To accelerate the addition of new languages, Google currently offers volunteers the opportunity to help in the translation through an automated tool."
The voluntary opportunity mentioned in the quote is on an invitational basis and Google manually approves every single application. In most cases, especially for popular languages, Google will not allow users to help. But Google might have changed its mind. Now, when users translate websites into a different language using Google's translation tool, you can suggest better translations by rolling over the translated text. Google will automatically phrase sentences according to punctuations and display the original phrase. Imagine if every webmaster translates their site to a foreign language, I am sure Google will have the best translation ever.

Update: This function only works for BETA languages, e.g. Chinese, Russian, Japanese, Korean, and Arabic.
Note: Google Translate now does Chinese (Traditional). Big thanks from Hong Kong and Taiwan users!

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Spell check - HUMN

Anonymous said...

How does Google, the machine, decide on the best translation? I'm confused.

will said...

Google is late to the game. Adsotrans has been doing collaborative translation shit for ages, at least in the Chinese space.

How about making your data downloadable and extensible? Otherwise, this is too little too late. When Google figures out the difference between 基地 and 基地 maybe you guys will be worth paying attention to.

Anonymous said...

I stared at 基地 and 基地 for about five minutes and even I can't figure out the difference between them.

!Keith said...

基地 and 基地 are indeed the same word. And I have to agree that Google is late to the game (and most of the games like Calendar and Reader) but Google often does better than the existing ones. Just give Google some time and it shall do.

junebug said...

I disagree with this. Professional translators take a long time to become so. Google is rich. And automated translation is still and will always be gibberish. Now, it will just become worse. Many have stepped up to the plate, and many have batted out on attempts to do this. It just adds to information noise! Go ask doctors to do free operations, or accountants to do free financial statements or architects to design a building "for free"...hahahaha

!Keith said...

I get your point. I understand many professionals cannot operate on free basis, but when it comes to the web, you cannot say it is impossible. See Wikipedia the online encyclopedia, did anyone pay those contributors? Internet users will ultimately benefit from free translation tools because as Google said, information is not only in English.

Anonymous said...

i can't seem to access this feature. for example, if i try to help google out with the translation of this page, which is about google's rise and yahoo's fall, in korean...

http://www.palgle.com/388

i'd like to tell google that it should translate the word 구글 as "Google" and not "nine writings." I can't find out how to do this, though.

While Google may not be able to make machine translation great, it may very well be able to make it better for one simple reason: It has the largest text corpus in the known universe to mine.

Page and Brin figured out the basic idea that links webpages together and makes the web a bit more meaningful; I'll hold out hope that Google may be able to make some sense out of the mess of natural language by a similar process.

!Keith said...

Upon visiting the site you post (http://www.palgle.com/388), it seems that it never finishes loading which might be the cause why the pop up doesn't appear. Does it work for other Korean sites?

Anonymous said...

What a shame!!! A multi billion dollar corporation begging for free translation. Can't they afford to hire a professional translators and to provide their customers with clean content in foreign languages? I have a hard time understanding such unprofessional approach to the translation. Google's success as well

Keith Chan said...

Google is seeking help from users because they would like to gather the power of millions of users across the globe who specialize in their own language to help improve its translation. Furthermore, I believe Google has plenty of professional translators hired to make use of the data generated from users and to analysis trends.

With this suggestion function in place, the process of fine tuning Google's translation tool can be greatly sped up.

free ps3 said...

Thanks for the nice post!

Anonymous said...

Google's outreach to the public for help improving their translation algorithms is not a sign of being unprofessional.

I guarantee that Google does have professional translators to analyze the results, as Keith said. The fact of the matter is that one person cannot possibly know everything. This method of gathering data reaches out to billions of users. You know what they say. A billion minds are better than one.

Anonymous said...

As long as Google is providing this translation free, I don't mind helping them with improving their program.

It's good to see some one making money in a way no one else has made it. By giving free access!

Lou Gold said...

Please add a "translate" button at the top of the form as well as at the bottom, similar to the text box at gmail.

At present one must constantly scroll between top and bottom which is especially awkward on long texts. It would be remedied by an additional translate option at the top.

I hope you can do it.

lou

Alexander said...

Google translations of Albanian language are not very accurate, so I'll try to help as much as I can!

Anonymous said...

I am Portuguese and every time I have a doubt I use Google translate and I have to say it is still very poor. Yeah, it does the job, but only if you don't have a clue what the word means. And that is with ONE word and in the third or fourth most used language in the world. I think everyone would benefit if we could give our suggestion.
P.S. Surprisingly, when translating full sentences it does a better work, as a programmer gotta love the algorithm.

Anonymous said...

There several times I have come upon translations, which are incorrect or just giving english loan as translation instead of proper estonian term. Finally I decided to figure out if I can help improve translation and read from help "hover your cursor over the translated term and click Contribute a better translation". There seems to be no such option available for me however, only options like Cut/Copy and like. I managed to type correct translation in blue box below current translation but there no clear hint what it does. I tried both Opera 10.60 and Firefox 3.6.22 with same results. Maybe somebody could fix help about subject ?

Anonymous said...

It is not a comment but a way to tell GoogleTranslate that there is a conflict between the pinyin and the sound promounced for the Chinese character "龟". I bet the pinyin is Ok, so the the pronounced voice must be corrected to keep GoogleTranslate be the best translation engine on earth forever!

Dércio Mariote said...

i wish i could help GOOGLE improve its translations by contributing with my skills and expertise in PORTUGUESE-ENGLISH AND VICE-VERSA. it is a DREAM to work at google and i would really embrace with all my heart if a had the chance to do so. i am MOZAMBICAN, recently graduated from the EDUARDO MONDLANE UNIVERSITY in Maputo, i am 23 years old and i seek for a job. i have already had some experience working in conferences and translating many and many documents for high ranking companies and institutions. my email is phdrddm@gmail.com.

kind regards google.

Oscar Iván Hernández Ledesma said...

Interesting. But I still don't get how popular languages like Spanish do not have proper translations from English yet.

Indeed there's a tool for improving translations about the word order, but there are some times in which the proper word doesn't even appear, so we can't do anything about it to help.

I once find a way to help improving google's translations, but there was the very same problem: I didn't find the right words in first instance.

Again, I am talking about popular languages (I've done others in some other languages) and popular sentences so I really don't understand what's the point of making translations hard when they should not be at all; why is this happening!?

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