Since September Google uses a new engine for their translation tool. It is running a neural network instead of a classical translation table. Here I have a test for you. I got a German part of Popper and Eccles’ The Self and its Brain. One of the following English quotes is the English original and one is the Google translation. Guess which is which!
Here is the German original:
“Menschliche Wesen sind unersetzlich; und dadurch unterscheiden sie sich deutlich von Maschinen. Menschen können das Leben genießen; sie können leiden und sie können dem Tod bewusst ins Auge sehen. Sie haben Bewusstsein, sie haben ein Ich, eine Seele. Eine Person ist Zweck, nicht Mittel zum Zweck, wie Kant betont.”
Here are the translations. First:
“Human beings are irreplaceable; And thus they differ significantly from machines.
People can enjoy life; They can suffer and they can consciously face death. They have consciousness, they have an ego, a soul. A person is purpose, not means to the purpose, as Kant emphasizes.”
“Human beings are irreplaceable; and in being irreplaceable they are clearly very different from machines. They are capable of enjoying life, and they are capable of suffering, and of facing death consciously. They are selves; they are ends in themselves, as Kant said.”
And did you get which one is which? Actually the first one is the Google translation. The second one the English original. I did some more tests, where I translated English passages into German. And Google Translate is doing very well. Even getting some points in style. Try it for yourself and have some fun with the new engine. I think it is really astonishing how well it works.
For some technical details check out this article at the Google research blog.