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Opinions on Google Translate for Polish


mhurwicz 8 | 16
18 Dec 2018  #1
My experience using Google Translate to get a basic idea of what a written document says has been pretty good, and I've learned some Polish in the process.

washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2016/10/03/google-translate-is-getting-really-really-accurate/ - This Washington Post article says pretty much what I would expect: It's not as good as a human translator, but it comes amazingly close!

To test the system, Google had human raters evaluate translations on a scale from 0 to 6. Translating from English to Spanish, the new Google tool's translation was rated an average of 5.43; human translators earned an average of 5.5. For Chinese to English, the only public-facing option that currently utilizes the new system, Google Translate was rated an average of 4.3 while human translators got 4.6.

I'd be interested in what others have experienced, using Google Translate for Polish.
Lyzko 20 | 6,340
18 Dec 2018  #2
Think my experience in previous message just now speaks for itself! In plain English, GoogleTranslate is crap shoot, with emphasis far too often on the word "crap".
mafketis 17 | 6,908
18 Dec 2018  #3
GoogleTranslate is crap shoot

It's an amazingly useful tool if you know how to use it properly.... unfortunately about 99.98% of users don't know that.

It's also not very good when one of the languages isn't English cause then it uses English as a bridge language (bad choice) and introduces other random errors...
OP mhurwicz 8 | 16
18 Dec 2018  #4
It's an amazingly useful tool if you know how to use it properly.

Is there a good guide somewhere to its proper use?
mafketis 17 | 6,908
19 Dec 2018  #5
Well for one thing, it's most useful to people who don't need it so much (the more you know the language you're working with the more useful google translate can be).

Go back and forth (english to polish/polish to english) and play around with things and reworking things, try longer and shorter versions (and check with google to see if the google translate suggestion is actually used)

there's more but that's a start
delphiandomine 85 | 17,823
19 Dec 2018  #6
I prefer the DeepL translator, as it seems to do a better job of translating legal texts that need to be translated as an FYI for non-English speakers. Otherwise, it's definitely as Mafketis says - if you have a decent grasp of Polish, it can really save a lot of time if you need to translate a load of information quickly.
Lyzko 20 | 6,340
19 Dec 2018  #7
GoogleTranslate is, if I must confess, the last of last ditch efforts at understanding a particular phrase, if one has no other recourse at hand.
mafketis 17 | 6,908
19 Dec 2018  #8
I use it a lot while translating as a kind of thesaurus, with individual words usually what it suggests is not right but one of the synonyms listed is just what I want.
Lyzko 20 | 6,340
19 Dec 2018  #9
Absolute "literal" renderings only, e.g. "kapelusz" for "hat" (for men or women), "ulica" for "street" etc. are obviously nor an issue. The problem, as I say, all too often arises when expressions become more complicated and thus less straight forward, for instance, register of language such as formal vs. informal address, and so on. If you don't pay attention, that is, if one copies verbatim what GoogleTranslate shows on the screen, it might land a person into trouble.
Chemikiem 5 | 1,604
19 Dec 2018  #10
I only use it for the odd word here or there as in the past I've found it to be pretty crap at translating more or less anything. Once that's happened a few times there is a tendency to not trust it's definitions.Having said that, this was years ago and I just don't bother with it these days. Maybe I'm one of the users that don't know how to use it properly.
mafketis 17 | 6,908
19 Dec 2018  #11
I've found it to be pretty crap at translating more or less anything

Exactly, it doesn't give answers, it helps you think about the questions in new ways... that's its greatest use for me.
Lyzko 20 | 6,340
20 Dec 2018  #12
Hear, hear, Chemikiem!
Chemikiem 5 | 1,604
23 Dec 2018  #13
it doesn't give answers, it helps you think about the questions in new ways.

But if like me, when you first started learning Polish, you wanted to use it as an accurate translating tool, it comes up as sadly lacking and doesn't do what it says on the tin. I guess it would be a novelty then, for an online translation site to actually translate accurately ;-)

The problem will always be that English ( and probably any other non-slavic language ) will never be accurately translated as literal translations are often impossible and in addition, sometimes there are no equivalent words/phrases.

To be honest, IMO, a decent dictionary and grammar book are far better resources than GT.
mafketis 17 | 6,908
23 Dec 2018  #14
But if like me, when you first started learning Polish, you wanted to use it as an accurate translating tool,

Yeah, it's not a language learning tool at all and using it for that will lead to frustration (unless your'e already fluent in a couple of foreign languages and know how to compensate for its shortcomings).
Lyzko 20 | 6,340
23 Dec 2018  #15
As with so many so-called "improvements", GoogleTranslate is just great if one doesn't really need it, save for barest of bare minimum basics. Again, "How do I say

"book" in Polish?", is an ideal Google question. Unfortunately, translation, as with effective language learning, is NEVER plugging slot B into slot A, or something similar!

Literal translation doesn't exist and if one relies on it, you'll get stuff like "invisible idiot" for "out of sight, out of mind" and other such monstrosities:-)
johnny reb 16 | 3,478
25 Dec 2018  #16
Again, "How do I say"book" in Polish?", is an ideal Google question.

I ask Google and got this.
Dokonać rezerwacji
novoroski
25 Dec 2018  #17
what exactly is an incel? translate that.
Jaskier
25 Dec 2018  #19
I ask Google and got this.

Which is correct. In this case perfect translation
Lyzko 20 | 6,340
26 Dec 2018  #20
Sure Johnny, because you were obviously asking something to do with making a reservation:-) Had you keyed in "book", you'd have gotten "ksiazka" in less than a split second, so what's the prob?

You simply confirmed perfectly the problems with ALL machine translation I've been harranging this forum about; you've got to be ever so exact and type only in such a way as to avoid any misunderstanding.

In English, book can mean " a bound volume", "a bet" (as in "I'll make book on that.") or it can be used as a verb, meaning "o finalize a reservation."

Nearly every language with which I'm familiar, even if I don't know it, has words which can be understood in a variety of ways.
RubasznyRumcajs 5 | 459
26 Dec 2018  #21
Avoid.
if you have to use translation service, use microsoft's one. Even Yandex is better for translations (of the language it supports- and it doesn't support Polish unfortunatelly) than Google translator
Lyzko 20 | 6,340
26 Dec 2018  #22
ANYTHING has to better than GoogleTranslate for the reasons already amply stated!
johnny reb 16 | 3,478
26 Dec 2018  #23
In this case perfect translation

Thank you Jaskier for the compliment in my translation as I certainly don't profess to be a highly educated linguistic in the Polish language.
mafketis 17 | 6,908
26 Dec 2018  #24
ANYTHING has to better than GoogleTranslate

No, it's very good for some things. It has limitations but if you know what it's useful for and how to use it then it's a massive help. As I said, most people try to use it for things it's bad at and/or don't know how to use it and so they get upset and think it's crap...
OP mhurwicz 8 | 16
26 Dec 2018  #25
I think a good analogy might be that Google Translate is like someone who knows a target language well enough to translate fairly effectively most of the time, but still makes gross mistakes somewhat frequently. However, a listener fluent in the target language will almost always detect those mistakes: The listener may not know what the speaker intends, but will know that what was said in the target language makes little or no sense in the context, and can investigate to find out what was actually said or meant in the source language.

For example, "You can make book on that; it's a sure thing." --> Możesz zrobić książkę na ten temat; to pewna rzecz.

Google Translate has mistranslated two idiomatic phrases, but a Polish speaker is probably going to realize that something is wrong here and could investigate to find out what was intended.

Similarly, if I use Google Translate to translate, say, wiercić komuś dziurę w brzuchu, and I get "to drill a hole in the stomach," it doesn't create misunderstanding. It simply becomes an occasion for investigation and further learning.

"a bet" (as in "I'll make book on that.")

By the way, "make book" refers to the bookie's side of the operation, not the action of the people who place the bets.

"When he makes his book on a race, he sets the odds on each runner so that the money he receives in bets should exceed the amount he will have to pay out whatever the result of the race."

phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/30/messages/2172.html
Lyzko 20 | 6,340
26 Dec 2018  #26
Thank you, mhurwicz, only I was using it in the purely vernacular sense of "Oh I'll make book on it!"= I'd bet my life on it:-)

Here again, we've hit the nail on the head! Your sentence from Polish into English is, of course, a textbook example of my LEAST favorite of the world's "languages", translatorese, in which many out there are fluent without even knowing itLOL

Recently, I witnessed yet another Google marvel of translation, "Dziekuje z gory!" - I thank you from a mountain, instead of "Thank you in advance!".
OP mhurwicz 8 | 16
20 Jan 2019  #27
A long but good article on machine translation:

cairn.info/revue-francaise-de-linguistique-appliquee-2003-2-page-99.htm
Lyzko 20 | 6,340
20 Jan 2019  #28
Thanks for that, mhurwicz. Will ck it out ASAP!


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