Photo: Function Blog
Google is never shy about showing off its nerdy side, but this latest product announcement may be a new high point for Google geekiness: the company just announced that its online translation tool now does Latin-to-English translation, and the announcement was written in Latin.The really strange part of this is that since (as Google points out) the product is a very rough alpha, it can’t translate Google’s own announcement into coherent English: “Today, we announce the first language translation system by which no native speakers now make use of: the Latin.”
Presumably, Google expects anyone reading the post to use their new product to try it out. So it’s odd that they didn’t write something Translate could handle. (UPDATE: Google contacted us to make it clear that they were aware of the awkward translation, but thought it was an amusing way to showcase a product that was new and impressive, but obviously imperfect. Fair enough.)
Here’s the full announcement, as rendered by Google Translate:
That language barriers be torn away and the knowledge of the world is made accessible and useful, translation systems of many languages of the nations were created by us. Today, we announce the first language translation system by which no native speakers now make use of: the Latin. Being but a few speak Latin daily, year by year more than a hundred thousand American students receive the National Latin Exam. Besides many people all over the world study Latin.
This Latin translation system rarely be used to translate e-mails or understand the subtitles of YouTube videos. But many that are ancient books of philosophy, of physics and of mathematics are written in Latin. But many thousands of books are in Google Books, who have whole passages in Latin.
Translating by machine from Latin is difficult and our grasp of grammar not without error. The Latin is unmatched because most of them Latin books have already been written and only a few of the new shall be hereafter. Many have been translated into other languages and these translations we use to train our translation system. Since this system translates books well similar to those from whom he learned, our ability to translate famous books (such as The Gallic War Caesar ‘s) is already good.
The next time you find a Latin passage or you need help with the Latin writings, try this.
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