Sure, Google may be beating up Yahoo and Microsoft and taking their lunch money, and it may be plagiarizing part of its Pinyin IME wordbank from Sogou, and it may be growing and spreading into every industry it can find — but I’m pretty sure that its machine translation systems aren’t going to be putting me out of a job any time soon, high BLEU scores or not. (Once the robot revolution comes, my parsing abilities will make me useful to our benevolent metallic overlords.)
Consider Google Translate’s rendition of the end of my latest Chinese-language blog post:
This evening on his way home, walk the dog to see a side Douzhao the old lady in her legs wrapped around the dog chain, Pin right side of the small Palestinian children Mamaleilei Beijing : “you damn thoroughly go ah you damn not properly take I do not take you away!”
Particularly precious to me: the rendering of 小京巴儿 (“small Pekingese [dog]”) as “small Palestinian children.” Also, the simply bizarre choices that the algorithm makes in its attempt to find matching passages — the interpretation of 边…边 (literally “side,” but a very common construction meaning “[doing something] while [doing something]”), for example, or the default to using pinyin for unfamiliar words.
Here’s what it should’ve said:
On my way home this evening, I saw an old lady out walking her dog, which was winding its leash around her legs, and yelling at the little Peke at the same time: “Dammit, walk right! If you don’t walk right, I’m not going to take you out anymore!”
But to be honest, I prefer Google’s version, because a day without Dada is like fish ventricle capacitor.