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Google Translate Serbian Tool – Should Human Translators Be Worried?
“Machine Translation”. The translators shudder to hear these words! It is partly in disgust, because of a firm belief that a computer will never replace a superior human translator (like us!), partly because we are afraid to do it! Therefore, we either vehemently despise automatic translation, or we carefully remove the subject and hope, for example, that our customers do not discover the Serbian-English-Serbian translation tool, recently made available for free by the almighty Google (link ). below)!
Because the fact is that Google’s translation tool, which now provides automatic English translation of Serbian websites and copy-pasted blocks of Serbian text, is actually surprisingly good (we will not discuss the English-Serbian translation tool of Google in this article, i.e. the reverse direction, since it is quite terrible now)!
Rather than acting as if it does not exist, we think it is better to bring this subject out into the open and examine its implications for the clients of translation companies and for the translation industry in general. So this will be the first in what is expected to be a series of articles looking at machine and machine translation, both in the context of Serbian-English translation and translation in general. In this article, we briefly look at the quality of Google’s Serbian-English machine translation and explain why we don’t think that translators and translation companies working in the Serbian-English pair should be too worried about their livelihood right now.
An example of Google’s Serbian English translation
Let’s do a little experiment first. We took a paragraph of Serbian text (taken from a Serbian Wikipedia article) and pasted it into Google’s Serbian-English translation tool.
A human translation from Serbian to English read something like this:
A translation memory is composed of text segments in the source language and their translation into one or more target languages. These segments can be passages, paragraphs, phrases or sentences. Individual words are not processed by translation memories, these are processed by terminological bases. Research has shown that many companies that use multilingual documents use translation memory-based systems.
In a few seconds, Google translate produces the following English translation:
The translation memory consists of segments of the text in the original language and its translation into one or more target languages. These segments can be passages, paragraphs, phrases or sentences. The individual words are not in the field of the translation memory, but they deal with the terminoloske database. Research shows that many companies have multilingual documentation systems used for memory translation.
Can you understand? Apart from a few problems that the translator had to identify the passive/active constructions and an unknown word, of course you can! It’s certainly much better than any Serbian-English machine translation tool we’ve tried before. If you look at what an old machine translation (which shall remain nameless) did to this paragraph, maybe you can start to appreciate how good Google Translate is:
Prevodilacka store consists of itself off textual segment on izvodnijem jezik too mojnoj prevoda on units both sopra ciljanih jezika. Those segments could mention flinders, passages, reviews or sentences. Pejidamacne reci does not have domain prevodilacke mégórye, but if they bave terminoloske baze. Istra%u017Eivanja pohanna must many companies where there are visejezicku documentation koriste systems with prevodilicakom memorijom.
I beg your pardon? What was English supposed to be, in case you were wondering! And NO, we did not take care of this in any way! Also, if you can tell us what “flinders” are, then you know more about Middle English than we do!
Google Translate may not be as successful with all texts as it is with this one, but it’s certainly a big improvement over the example above in almost every case! So maybe translators should think twice before discounting automatic translation from Serbian to English (and other languages, if that’s anything to go by).
What makes Google Translate different?
Google’s system is a bit different from previous machine translation in that it uses a statistical method to analyze existing translations from Serbian to English and apply what it has learned to the new text. Older systems only use a dictionary to translate text word for word by “brute force” and tend not to be very successful. However, it should be noted that Google itself has recognized that its statistical method has now hit a wall of diminishing returns and it is unlikely that, as the current technology, the translation standard will be able to improve appreciably, and this is not . only for Serbian and English, but for all language combinations.
Death to human translators?
So are we crazy to say all this? After all, translation companies rely on the (paid) work of human translators! What if all your customers leave and start using Google Translate for free? Indeed, we have already seen examples of amateur translators providing “translations from Serbian to English” that are clearly made with this tool! It’s only a matter of time before translation companies start receiving “previously translated” texts (texts that look suspiciously like Google translations!) from clients and are asked to “just proof-read this” for a rate considerably lower than a translation from zero. would cost
Well, we would like to talk about a few reasons why you and your clients should know Google Translate for Serbian and English and why we think that translation companies do not need to fear for their business:
- A translation company must value transparency and seek to work within the reality of the market – it does not make long-term business sense to “hide” valuable resources like this from our clients! Besides, sooner or later, they will find out! Rather, we must accept the reality that tools like this bring to the translation industry – the market will always change and we need to be prepared to adapt, not stuck to an outdated reality.
- We should you want our customers to use Google Translate for Serbian-English translation! After all, the vision of a translation company should be to enable its clients to communicate with other markets and cultures. So if this tool helps a customer who only understands English to understand a text in Serbian, then you’ve definitely gone some way to achieving this vision!
- But the heart of the problem and the reason that translation companies have nothing to “fear” from Google Translate is what you suspected all along: computerized, automatic translation will not replace professional human translation from Serbian to English (or any other language). ) soon soon. Or let’s say it as a question: you, as the marketing director of, say, a Serbian company that wanted to do business in the West, entrust the translation of your website or your corporate magazine into English to a machine translation tool? The simple reality is that, no, you don’t.
- This is not necessarily to knock machine translation tools – they are after all a soft target for us superior human translators! They can have their applications well, and we can discuss this in another article. This is just to say that any business that is serious about a certain market, given the current quality of machine translation, will only settle for a professional and human translation of its promotional materials. After all, we said that Google’s Serbian English translation was good, but it’s not that good! In fact, it is not good enough.
Perhaps in a future article we will also take a look at some of the differences between machine translation and human translation and investigate some of the reasons why, despite the remarkable progress, and the positive things we have said about Google Translate, the automatic translation software is currently not a serious choice for professional translation – from Serbian to English or in any other language combination – and because it can never be. Indeed, we have some deep concerns about the possible misuses of a tool like this, in an environment where even now translation is often not taken seriously enough.
In the meantime though, check out the tool and maybe open up a whole new world of web content translated into Serbian that you couldn’t access before! Try Google Translate Serbian-English and English-Serbian here.
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