back to article 'F*** you', exclaims Google Translate app, politely

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 …

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  1. Geoff May

    How does it handle ...

    ... something like "cycle of seasons"?

    One translation program I tried translated that into German as "a bicycle for seasons".

    1. getHandle

      Re: How does it handle ...

      Seems fairly accurate...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How does it handle ...

      My hovercraft is full of eels

      1. Fungus Bob Silver badge
        Headmaster

        like this

        Myn hovercraft sit fol mei iel

  2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    sadly not an actual Babel fish

    I dunno, I'm n̶o̶t̶ ̶s̶u̶r̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶a̶t̶ ̶I̶ ̶w̶a̶n̶t̶ very sure that I don't want Google feeding directly into my brain wave matrix.

    1. Joseph Eoff
      Joke

      Hmmm...

      Actually may not be a bad idea. Given how much I hate the invasiveness of google, there's a very high chance of burning out every bit of google equipment that tries to read my brainwaves. That can only be a good thing.

  3. malle-herbert Silver badge
    Joke

    Yeah but...

    Will it make god dissappear in a puff of logic ?

    1. harmjschoonhoven

      Re: Yeah but...

      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.

  4. BongoJoe

    Always thought

    That that diagram of the Babel Fish was back to front. If it feed on sound waves and excreted the right language wouldn't it be inserted in the other way around?

    1. Anonymous Bullard

      Re: Always thought

      I thought that too, but it does it telepathically rather than shit it out

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google playing catch-up again:

    http://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2014/05/27/microsoft-demos-breakthrough-in-real-time-translated-conversations/

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      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...

      1. Christian Berger Silver badge

        To be fair

        Microsoft also demoed that "extremely well and clearly spoken German to English"-Mode as well as the "English to Gibberisch"-Mode.

        1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          Re: To be fair

          Microsoft also demoed that "extremely well and clearly spoken German to English"-Mode as well as the "English to Gibberisch"-Mode.

          Yes, but was it Authentic Frontier Gibberish?

      2. Graham 24

        "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.

        1. Tel

          I a cake have baked.

          Works for Yoda.

          1. intrigid

            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.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        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.

    2. Jes.e

      As long as we're playing the Microsoft hand

      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.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As long as we're playing the Microsoft hand

        "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.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Paris will become a quieter place in the summer

    As there will be fewer Americans asking "DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH"?

    They'll now be able to speak to the Parisians directly and know that they are being condescended to rather than just suspecting it.

    1. Michael Hawkes
      Megaphone

      Re: Paris will become a quieter place in the summer

      As an American, I can say we will continue to be obnoxious. "PARLAY VOO FRON-SAY?"

      1. AceRimmer

        Re: Paris will become a quieter place in the summer

        As an American why would you ask a Parisian if they speak French?

        surely you mean:

        PARLAY VOO EEEENGLEEEESH

        1. Xpositor

          Re: Paris will become a quieter place in the summer

          or even "Parlay voo AY MAYOR EE CAN", said very loudly, with no reference to English at all...

  7. ravenviz Silver badge
    Terminator

    I hope it's better than Siri who which kept on telling me about a 'new rose' every time I asked for Euro exchange rates!

    1. Elmer Phud Silver badge

      New Rose?

      Damned fine song, Sir!

  8. Mephistro Silver badge
    Coat

    Well...

    jIHvaD vemmoH ghorgh laH mugh chaH vaj tlhIngan!

    ;-)

    1. noominy.noom

      Re: Well...

      @Mephisto

      Well said.

    2. Ugotta B. Kiddingme
      Thumb Up

      Re: Well...

      the sad part is that Klingon no longer appears as an option on translate.google.com. Fortunately, we're (mostly) all nerds educated professionals here so Q'pla' with that...

    3. Mephistro Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Well...

      These Klingon dudes didn't get the memo about the correct use of upper case letters, did they?

      1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

        Re: Well...

        And you're going to tell them that when? [Stepping well out of blood spray reach.]

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: Well...

          "eff, asterisk, asterisk, asterisk"

          That's a terrible old Nordic insult. They will be sending round their flea-sized space armada anytime now.

  9. Any mouse Cow turd

    costly

    All very well but I fear that usage by the masses will be limited due to fear of huge data bills.

    I guess it'll come in handy in McDonalds once you log into the free wifi but "Big Mac" is the same in all languages isn't it?!

    1. Joefish
      Trollface

      Re: costly

      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.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: costly

        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.

    2. Mephistro Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: costly

      "but "Big Mac" is the same in all languages isn't it?!"

      Well, in some places they call them corkburgers and shitburgers and even worse!. ;-)

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Re: costly

        "Well, in some places they call them corkburgers and shitburgers and even worse"

        That's just in the literal countries.

    3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: costly

      According to Pulp Fiction it is not.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Finally !!

    I get to speak to my Chinese wife's parent!!!!

    1. Mephistro Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Finally !! (@ AC)

      I get to speak to my Chinese wife's parent!!!!

      Sorry to tell you, but you'll probably end up regretting this. ;-)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    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.

  12. JeevesMkII

    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.

    1. tfewster Silver badge
      Megaphone

      Real time is no good (How to talk to foreigners) ---------------->

      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?

      1. JassMan Silver badge

        Re:Real time is no good (How to talk to foreigners) ------------->

        Have an upvote for the right hand half of the title and icon.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Real time is no good (How to talk to foreigners) ---------------->

        "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.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Real time is no good (How to talk to foreigners) ---------------->

          And dont forget to add the "O" at the end..

          Oy-O Waiter-O, 4-O Beer-O and Vimto-O.

          Vimto-O??

          NB, works well in Spain...

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Borg.King

      Re: Ad Placement?

      This translation brought to you by Badger's Arse Industrial Toilet Paper.

  14. DerekCurrie Bronze badge
    Angel

    Gobbledygook In Real Time

    Using Google Translation Tools for German, let alone Japanese, provides a mess of barely comprehensible blether. Speeding this up into real time then forcing an artificial voice to say it is going to be THE GREATEST JOKE OF 2015! I can hardly wait.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Gobbledygook In Real Time

      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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