In a recent interview with an Australian news source Google vice-president Vint Cerf admits that Google’s translation engine is not ready for sensitive material.

In the article Dr. Cerf says that Google has made great progress in achieving good results with Machine Translation by improving the statistical model used to generate the translation output form the Google engine. He asserts that the technology is certainly the best solution in the current market. He goes on to say that on a scale of 0 to 10 Google’s ability to translate material reliably is a 5.

Here are some of his quotes from the article:

  • I’d be really careful about having any kind of a sensitive debate with someone either spoken or written using these translations
  • But I can tell you that I read newspapers from other countries by using Google Translate and at least I’m getting a pretty good gist of what’s being said and if I need to know more I’d go to a language speaker, an expert speaker.

The bottom line is that Google’s Translation tools are well suited for just getting a general understanding of material requiring translation. For now the best way to get an accurate translation is with human translation.

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