Google Translate / by Anthony Gibbins

Some years ago, I read a book called Google Planet by Randall Stross. Among many other things, it explained how Google Translate works. Well, kind of. What it did explain was that like so much at Google, the secret was an algorithm. Instead of teaching the computer how to translate from, say, English to French, they taught the computer how to compare huge amounts of texts in both languages to learn how to translate between them. The computer reads through everything it can get its hands on that is available in more than one language. United Nation reports are particularly useful because they are so broadly translated. As is a lot of popular fiction.

This is the reason why Google Translate is so bad at translating between Latin and English. There just isn't enough to read available in both languages for the computer to get a real sense of how to do it. Just for kicks, here is today's page translated by Google;

Marcellus, the door open, enters the upper chamber . Perhaps you are looking for the name of happiness , which stands in the furnace . He Pico said.

And here it is translated by a human being;

Marcellus opens the door (ablative absolute!) and enters the cenaculum. Perhaps you are asking for the name of the cat who is standing on the chimney. He is Pico.