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Artificial Intelligence: You know it isn't real, yeah?

H in The Hague Silver badge

"Google and Yandex translation?"

Google Translate (GT) is actually a good example of where pattern matching fails. Its apparent translation is created by matching patterns in the source language with those in previous translations into the target language - a purely statistical process, devoid of any understanding, any intelligence.

That often leads to translations which read surprisingly well, but may be incorrect. Example: a client provided me with a document in Dutch and mentioned they'd had that translated from French. It seemed to be perfectly good Dutch, but one sentence would have made much more sense had it included the word "not". That made me suspect they'd used GT or similar. So I requested the original French doc and even with my extremely rusty secondary school French I could see that the original document did indeed include 'not'.

Tested it: GT French -> Dutch left 'not' out while GT French -> English correctly included 'not'.

Another problem with GT is that it feeds off source texts and translations it finds on the Web - but increasingly those are its own work, hence you get the snake biting its own tail, reinforcing its mistakes. GT can be a useful tool but one to be used with caution by those who are aware of its workings and shortcomings.

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