Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Google Translate now has over 100 languages

Over the past few years, Google Translate has been an invaluable tool for assisting genealogical research in many different languages. Although the translations are not up to literary quality, they are sufficient to give researchers a good insight into the records and websites in languages other than the ones they are familiar with. For this reason alone, any improvements in the quality of the translation or in the number of languages available is significant.

 Recently Google announced that they have added 13 languages. Here is the Google Translate Blog.
In 2006, we started with machine learning-based translations between English and Arabic, Chinese and Russian. Almost 10 years later, with today’s update, we now offer103 languages that cover 99% of the online population. 
The 13 new languages — Amharic, Corsican, Frisian, Kyrgyz, Hawaiian, Kurdish (Kurmanji), Luxembourgish, Samoan, Scots Gaelic, Shona, Sindhi, Pashto and Xhosa — help bring a combined 120 million new people to the billions who can already communicate with Translate all over the world. 
So what goes into adding a new language? Beyond the basic criteria that it must be a written language, we also need a significant amount of translations in the new language to be available on the web. From there, we use a combination of machine learning,licensed content and Translate Community
As we scan the Web for billions of already translated texts, we use machine learning to identify statistical patterns at enormous scale, so our machines can "learn" the language. But, as already existing documents can’t cover the breadth of a language, we also rely on people like you in Translate Community to help improve current Google Translate languages and add new ones, like Frisian and Kyrgyz. So far, over 3 million people have contributed approximately 200 million translated words.
 Here is the translation of the first part of this post into Spanish, using the Google Translate program.
En los últimos años, el Traductor de Google ha sido una herramienta muy valiosa para ayudar a la investigación genealógica en muchos idiomas diferentes. Aunque las traducciones no están a la calidad literaria, que son suficientes para dar a los investigadores una buena penetración en los registros y sitios web en idiomas distintos a los que están familiarizados. Sólo por esta razón, cualquier mejora en la calidad de la traducción o en el número de idiomas disponibles es significativa.
This is actually pretty good Spanish. Oh, you might not know that I speak Spanish fluently but it is a lot easier to have Google translate for me than to spend the time typing out the Spanish translation.

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