Google Translate vs. Bing Translator
In last week’s post, I concluded that Yahoo Babelfish was clearly inferior to Google Translate and Bing Translator. This week is the tiebreaker! I’ve subjected the two remaining online translators to different tests, ranging from easy to hard.
Test 1: German Proverb
Source: Besser ein Spatz in der Hand, als eine Taube auf dem Dach.
Translation: A sparrow in the hand is better than a pigeon on the roof.
Google Translate: Better a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
Interestingly, Google Translate did not go for the literal translation, but instead went for the English equivalent, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”
Bing Translate: Better a Spatz in der hand as a dove on the roof.
I think Google Translate wins this one.
Test 2: Victor Hugo, Villemain (1845)
Source: Vous avez des ennemis? Mais c’est l’histoire de tout homme qui a fait une action grande ou crée une idée neuve. C’est la nuée qui bruit autour de tout ce qui brille. Il faut que la renommé ait des ennemis comme il faut que la lumière ait des moucherons. Ne vous en inquiétez pas, dédaignez! Ayez la sérénité dans votre esprit comme vous avez la limpidité dans votre vie.
Translation: You have enemies? Why, it is the story of every man who has done a great deed or created a new idea. It is the cloud which thunders around everything that shines. Fame must have enemies, as light must have gnats. Do no bother yourself about it; disdain. Keep your mind serene as you keep your life clear.
Google Translate: You have enemies? But is the story of every man who has made a great action or creates a new idea. It’s the noise around cloud all that glitters. It must have renamed the enemies as you ought to have the light of gnats. Do not worry, scorn! Be calm in your mind as you clarity in your life.
Bing Translate: You have enemies? But it is the story of a man who has done a great action or creates a new idea. This is the cloud that noise around everything that glitters. Must be that the renamed have enemies as it must be that light midges.Do you to worry not, dédaignez! Have the serenity in your mind as you have clarity in your life.
Google Translate is better. Bing has a bad habit of not translating a few words.
Test 3: Sun Tzu, The Art of War
- Sun Tzu said: The art of war is of vital importance to the State.
- It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.
- The art of war, then, is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account in one’s deliberations, when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field.
- These are:
- The Moral Law;
- The Commander;
- Method and discipline.
Google Translate: Sun Tzu said: soldiers who affairs of state of life and death, the survival of the Road,must be aware also.
It follows that the order to five things, to take account of the school, and claim their feelings: one said channel, second is days, the third is, the Si Yue will, Wu Yue law.
Bing Translate: Sun Zi said: soldiers of the nation events, land of the dead, survival of the road, must be noted. Five things to take account of the school, emotionally cable by: Yue road, said the second day, the three ends, the four ends, five said method.
Both translations are equally bad. I heard somewhere that machine translations are best for these languages: English, Spanish, German, and French. This probably results from the similarity in these languages and the large amount of source texts available.
Google Translate leads in the field of machine translation! Bing Translator sometimes refuses to translate certain words, which is quite annoying (see test 1). As usual, short sentences work better. One last note: The Art of War is not modern Chinese, just as Shakespeare isn’t modern English. If I had replaced it with more modern text, the results might have been better.