Google Translate is Slowly Catching Up to Human Translation Levels

Google’s ever so helpful Google Translate app was better than its machine rivals in a recent translation competition between humans and artificial intelligence language software held in Seoul, Korea on Feb. 22, 2017, that finished with the humans winning, according to The Investor.

According to industry sources on Feb. 22, Google Translate earned the highest score of 28 points out of the total 60 points during this competition, while Naver’s Papago and Systran International’s namesake system received 17 and 15 points, respectively.

Of course, the human translators earned 49 points, but that was largely expected before the competition. Even though Google Translate scored only 28 points, it is showing tremendous improvements in its translation abilities ever since Google merged its machine learning prowess within the service. 

Within the Google Translate App you can:
• Tap to Translate: Copy text in any app and your translation pops up
• Offline: Translate 52 languages when you have no Internet
• Instant camera translation: Use your camera to translate text instantly in 30 languages
• Camera Mode: Take pictures of text for higher-quality translations in 37 languages
• Conversation Mode: Two-way instant speech translation in 32 languages
• Handwriting: Draw characters instead of using the keyboard in 93 languages
• Phrasebook: Star and save translations for future reference in any language

The competition was held without disclosing the names of each service. The evaluation results were revealed by word of mouth possibly due to the keen interest in the unprecedented event.





Hosted by the International Interpretation Translation Association, a group of four professional translators competed against the three AI programs.
They were tasked with translating random English articles — literature, and non-literature — into Korean and other Korean articles into English. A total of 50 minutes were given and the translated works were evaluated by two professional translators.

“It was quite surprising to see how advanced Google Translate was. I guess it is because of the company’s experience with AlphaGo,” an IT expert said. “Systran, which is more a translating company rather than a tech firm, showed relatively low skills.”

Google launched an advanced translate service in November 2016 that has drastically improved its translation ability based on its neural machine translation or NMT system. It is designed to translate 16 languages around the world.





Naver’s Papago, which launched in September, is also based on the NMT system that outpaced Systran, the world’s №1 translation company.
“Papago has a limit of [fewer] than 200 letters as it is still on its beta service,” a Naver official said.

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