Google Translate targets improvements
Google is seeking to make extensive improvements to its Translate service.
It has been much derided in the past for providing inaccurate and sometimes nonsensical translations, while languages such as Japanese do not work very well because of their complex structures.
Now the search giant is hoping to overhaul Translate through crowdsourcing. Language enthusiasts are being encouraged to comment on the 80 languages that are currently supported.
They will be able to rate and compare existing translations, match words to their correct counterparts, create new entries and suggest an entirely new version directly in Google Translate.
"Over time, you'll find more ways to contribute, as well as get more visibility into the impact of your contributions and the activity across the community," stated Sveta Kelman, program manager at Google Translate.
A feedback function is being built in to the new community site page, as Google is keen to gauge the opinions of language aficionados on ways that the service can be improved over time.
If people are using the service and see a translation they think is unsatisfactory, there is a button called 'improve this translation'. By clicking it, suggestions can be made about what the translation should actually be.
"We plan to incorporate your corrections and over time learn your language a little better," Ms Kelman remarked.
Google claims that it is an attempt to fine-tune its service, but in truth it will still fall short of what a professional translator can offer, as this will deliver a much greater degree of quality assurance.
It is undoubtedly a good option for anyone looking to write a quirky message in a different language or find out how to say a particular phrase, but does not have the functionality to translate technical documents or marketing materials.
If businesses are serious about their global ambitions, professional translators remain by far the best option.