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 …

  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

        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


      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

    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:

    1. Credas Silver badge

      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

          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 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

      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:


        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

    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


    jIHvaD vemmoH ghorgh laH mugh chaH vaj tlhIngan!


    1. noominy.noom

      Re: Well...


      Well said.

    2. Ugotta B. Kiddingme
      Thumb Up

      Re: Well...

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

    3. Mephistro Silver badge

      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


    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

      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

      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

      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

      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.


          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

    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...

    2. Nifty

      Re: Gobbledygook In Real Time

      "Using Google Translation Tools for German ..... is going to be THE GREATEST JOKE OF 2015!"

      You'll have to wait till the very end of the sentence for the punchline

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Gobbledygook In Real Time

      Wenn ist das Nunstück git und Slotermeyer? Ja! Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput!

  15. YouStupidBoy

    Lost in translation

    I wonder how this deals with regional dialects and usage. Even within a given language there are often words that can be perfectly permissible in one region but grounds for getting your teeth knocked out in another area a couple hundred miles down the road.

    1. Rustident Spaceniak

      Re: Lost in translation

      ... you mean like mentioning Gary Neville in Liverpool?

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: Lost in translation

        you mean like mentioning Gary Neville in Liverpool?

        Neah, other stuff like the actual meanings of amateur ornithology or zoology terms. Hint - in Georgia and South Carolina shag is a folk dance, and in non-USA English beaver is a water dwelling rodent.

        So test no 1 - can it translate Jarvis Cocker from UK English to USA English. If it succeeds on the lyrics of I Spy (as sung by Jarvis) it gets my vote :)

        Though that one is easy. I would really like to see it translate Russian in a humour context (with its usual nested 4-5 levels of double meanings).

    2. Christian Berger Silver badge

      That's actually even a problem for human speakers

      For example the upper palliatine dialect of Bavarian I speak has the 2 words "affe" for up and "obe" for down. Near Weiden, they use the words "obe" for up and "unte" for down.

  16. Vinyl-Junkie

    So we can now look forward... more and bloodier wars?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No swearing?

    Spoke back to me in English from German.

    Not in French though..........

  18. Jonathan Richards 1

    OK, Google

    "I seem to be having terrible trouble with MY lifestyle... ...

  19. .stu

    It doesn't automatically detect the language tho does it? At least mine doesn't. You have to select which 2 languages are being spoken.

    And the instant camera translation thing requires you to snap a picture and then highlight the bit you want translated. From the description it sounded like augmented reality but it isn't.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      There's no pleasing some people.

  20. Boris Dyne

    Oh, the humanity.

    Bringschuld will be one of many words in German that will present fascinating translation opportunities.

  21. Sarah Balfour


    As someone who's attempting to improve their German (and on the verge of declaring war) love to know how it'd cope withe the many words/idioms which have no English equivalent (and vice versa). Of course, I can't think of any off the top of my head. Not to mention accents; I'm originally from Sheffield, though I've been living in Tory land for over 30 years, but I'm still told that I'm occasionally unintelligible (or is that unintelligent…?). Is there anyone outside of Georditoonia who can understand a fucking word they say…?!

    And I'm not surprised Man U were shite under Moyes, nobody could understand HIM, either! The problem I can foresee, wot with Google being Yank an' all, is that they'll think everyone has Received Pronunciation and, if ya don't sound like Betty or Chaz, ya pretty much SoL.

    Has this thing gone fully live yet…? Will there be an optional BabblePished add-on…? Coz ordering a taxi at 6pm is one thing, but what about at 2am when the bars chuck out…? Fuck know where you'll end up…?! "Take me to my hotel" could turn out as "Take me to a brothel" and, in some parts of the world, you could wind up rather not alive…

    I'll give it to the end of the summer, when everyone's taken it on their hollies and found it to be somewhat lacking…

  22. HOW many?

    Aygif agit caygan hagandle Agi

    *Then* I'll be impressed.

    'Agi' is a 'baffle' language developed by the Brit troops in the WW1 trenches to fox evesdroppers in the German trenches listening in. It simply consists of puting the letters or 'AGI', sometimes AGE or AIG if e or i are involved (its a bit flexible) sound in place of or alongside the vowels, aigif yagoo saygee whaygot aig mageen?

    Simple, fun, and an absolute bagastaigard for non-native speakers to fathom.

    (Also the pefect rippost for those North Wales pubs where the locals hear English and switch to Welsh).

    1. Mooseman Bronze badge

      Re: Aygif agit caygan hagandle Agi

      That happened to me in a North Wales pub once. We switched to German, the locals looked baffled and then went back to English.

  23. tempemeaty

    Needs to be left in the oven a little longer?

    Google Translate is hilarious. I've copy-pasta'd enough Japanese into Google Translate to know their technology to translate things is far far away from ready. What it usually gives me these days is unintelligible combinations of English words that add up to nothing.

  24. MJI Silver badge

    BabelFish website

    Is really crap now, logins ect.

    What went wrong?

  25. Robert Baker

    "Deck the halls" anyone?

    Can it translate that idiomatically, without descending into "we now put on our homosexual clothing" or "yuletide carols are for trolls"?

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