How does it handle ...
... something like "cycle of seasons"?
One translation program I tried translated that into German as "a bicycle for seasons".
It’s a small, yellow, earwig-like creature* that feeds on … no, wait, it’s Google’s new real-time language translation app. Although sadly not an actual Babel fish, the Chocolate Factory’s latest upgrade to its Google Translate app does mean you can “instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language”. From …
Will it make god dissappear in a puff of logic ?
Not necessarily, Athanasius Kircher, a German Jesuit, a.k.n.a. the last man who knew everything, published in 1663 his Polygraphia nova et universalis which promises the reduction of all languages to one and the extension of one language to all. A kind of proto-Babel-fish.
He was inspired by Gustavus Selenus' Polygraphia nova of 1624, which expanded work going back to the time of Cicero.
Kircher also wrote extensively on the seventy-two names of god. The word was his bread and butter.
Google playing catch-up again
That would be the same Skype Translate that's only available in "preview", only for English to Spanish, and doesn't translate until you stop talking, would it? A bit like Google Translate did a year and a half ago, except only between two particular languages? Jeez, these AC MS shills...
"doesn't translate until you stop talking"
It's sometimes impossible to do anything else. German can put the verb at the end of the sentence.
German: Ich einen Kuchen gebacken
English: I baked a cake
If translating from German to English, it's impossible to get more than one word into the English translation until the German sentence is complete.
So then couldn't the software allow the user to specify translation speed? Instant but more error prone and less gramatically correct translations, and delayed but more accurate translations. The former would be useful for one-on-one conversations, the latter for listening to lectures and TV shows etc.
Skype translate is the first public product for this technology. The preview might only do Spanish, but it can also handle many other languages - for instance many of the demos have been English / German.
Google have always been playing catch-up and Microsoft have been ahead of them in this field for years. See http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/about/speech-to-speech-milestones.aspx Google might have been first to release a voice translation product and claim it is 'production' but the Microsoft solution will undoubtedly be better when it arrives in final form. If for instance we look at Cortana (also in preview) compared to Ask Google - the Microsoft solution is way better, faster and more accurate even thought it's still in preview.
The previous version of the Google Translate application also worked off-line completely on your phone (as does the Google dictation keyboard) if you download the translation data modules for each language in question you want to translate to/from.
Does Microsoft do anything remotely similar???
Begone foul demons! Back under your bridge..
(I'm curious if the offline works in the new continuous mode. I suspect it does as the voice dictation already works this way.)
"The previous version of the Google Translate application also worked off-line completely on your phone"
The Microsoft product uses deep neural networks hosted on Azure. This is why it's an inherently far more powerful, accurate and capable solution.
Ah, but sadly not the 'Quarter Pounder'...
Surely the ultimate test of translation speed has to be to accurately render the full meaning of the expression 'Put mayonnaise on my chips muthaf*cka I dare you' in time before they press down that pump handle and ruin your one chance at half-decent food in that little clogged land 'neath the sea.
Ah, but sadly not the 'Quarter Pounder'...
Yeah, funny that. Quarter Pounder still sounds bigger and heavier than 113g and yet Americans love to "big" things up, eg describing mass of a truck or ship or whatever as xxxx thousand pounds instead of a smaller, more manageable x tons.
In my current experience using the Google Translate on text - it makes quite a lot of errors or omissions. A good text translation would seem to be a precursor to the much more tricky subject of recognising speech. Many of the errors appear to have no logic to them eg UNESCO in a German sentence came out in English as "best". German and Swedish portmanteau words are often left untranslated - when even to my eye the concatenated words are obvious.
Still - it is very useful. My weekly task requires it to translate web page listings into reasonable English from usually Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, French, German, Austrian, Czech, Bulgarian, Polish, Russian, Hungarian, Dutch, Catalan, and Spanish. The occasional Chinese, Korean, or Japanese is a bonus.
Does this actually work for any reasonable definition of "work"? It would seem like this would be a derivative of youtube's automatic subtitling, which is legendarily awful. Except with the constraint of having to be real time, so it's limited in just how many audio frames it can look ahead to get grammar hints (though it can go back and revise if it has a better idea later, I suppose.)
If it's anything like what I've already seen, I think a lot of tourists are going to be very confused.
I suspect a real-time translation of "Parlez-vous Francais" would be "Speak you French", or maybe with autocorrect, "Speak, sorry that should be 'Do you speak', French".
Plus, I wonder if the tone of voice would indicate it's a question?
"Plus, I wonder if the tone of voice would indicate it's a question?"
With the current fad for ending every statement on a rising inflection, I suspect it will either not use that at all or assuming everything is a question.
On a more long term note, I wonder if over time, as more UIs become voice targeted and the processing becomes properly usable, will it cause language to stagnate?
I'm sure we are all very familiar with the problems of being "forced" to interact with UI's which do things their (programmers/designers) way rather than our way such that we have to adjust to the device rather than the device adjusting to us.
well, I beg to differ (at least ref. German). Yes, it needs a correction here and there. And there. And there too, but otherwise, it's fine. If you don't mind your personal message to auntie Gretta stored in the google memory for the future generations to re-use...
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