Guess which language just got added to Google Translate

Friday, February 24, 2012

See it here?

Hm...can you see it? Let's zoom in:

Finally, Esperanto has been added to Google Translate. This is huge news for Esperanto and IALs in general.

The first reason is obvious: being added is a symbol of prestige, and makes the language that much easier to learn.

Another reason: being added to Google Translate proves that a language has a large enough corpus. Google Translate uses parallel texts to translate one language to another, and without that it cannot function properly.

Another reason: this will be a very interesting test of how easy IALs are for machines. Since they have few to no grammatical exceptions and fewer idiomatic expressions they should theoretically have fewer errors in translation as well. A comparison of translation quality between Esperanto and some other small languages (Maltese, Estonian...) would be interesting. Actually, Latin might be the best to compare here. Of course, with few native speakers it isn't as easy to point out errors; while some phrasing in a country's L1 may be wrong simply for being awkward (even if grammatically correct), in Esperanto, Ido etc. it could be correct. Example:

"My desire to study has grown increasingly higher."

Grammatically there's nothing wrong with that, but it would be corrected by an English speaker to something like "I want to study more now than before." In an IAL, both phrasings would be correct, or at least not incorrect enough that it would require a correction.

So.....let's see how good the translator actually is. Ready!

I live in a house with nine cats. -- Mi loĝas en domo kun naŭ katoj.

I would like to have more money. -- Mi ŝatus havi pli da mono.

Without you, I don't know if I can live. -- Sen vi, mi ne scias ĉu mi povos vivi.

He is a character and has courage, and such characters are few in number in Biblical stories. --
Li estas gravulo kaj havas kuraĝon kaj tiaj karakteroj estas malmultaj en numero en bibliaj rakontoj.

The days become longer after the winter solstice. -- La tagoj fariĝis jam post la vintra solstico.

Come to my company downtown for an interview. -- Venu al mia kompanio centro por intervjuo.

That is...surprisingly good. My Esperanto isn't fluent but all but the last two look correct.


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