Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Google Translate messes with my mind

Your "huh?" moment. Look carefully at what's going on in the image below. I did the screen capture because I already mistrust Google Translate, and when I saw what happened below, I knew I had to catch the stupid program in the act. Behold:

I'd love to know why the above error occurred. Frankly, I have no clue.



Charles said...

Fascinating. I assume you're referring to the order of the words, yes (because the translation is going to suck no matter what)? It seems to have something to do with the comma--the program gets the separate words right and can manage sentences like "He is optimistic but she is pessimistic." It even gets "optimistic and pessimistic" right (well, sort of... at least in terms of order).

OK, let's try a sentence that would feature these two terms separated by a comma: "His outlook was optimistic, pessimistic, and rather confusing." Strangely enough, it gets the word order correct on that one.

One interesting thing about the program is that it translates on the fly. Take the above sentence and try eliminating letters from the end, one by one--the translation runs through some interesting permutations as it flails about, trying to figure out what you mean. At "quite" it still has the order right, but when you eliminate the "e" to get "quit," the order suddenly switches. Then it switches back until you get down to "and," at which point it switches again.

Conclusion: Google Translate is mad. Maybe if it looks like a list of terms it figures that the order doesn't matter? I have no idea.

Interestingly enough, with your original input, the order is correct in Chinese but incorrect in Japanese (i.e., the same as Korean). Most of the romance languages seem to be correct.

I am thoroughly confused now.

Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

This error occurred to mess with your mind.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *