Which machine translator is the best?

United Nations Flag
Google Translate vs. Yahoo Babelfish vs. Bing Translator

Machine translation has been around since 1954—the Georgetown-IBM experiment. They automatically translated 60 sentences from Russian to English. The first machine translator had 250 words in its vocabulary and 6 grammar rules. The experiment was declared a huge success, and the authors claimed that machine translation would be solved in 5 years. Here we are more than 50 years later. Machine translators have millions of words in their vocabulary and thousands of grammar rules, and can translate anything from Afrikaans to Yiddish. Despite this, machine translators are still rarely accurate with their translations. If the best machine translator is mediocre, you can’t afford to use lesser ones! I’ve tested three machine translators: Google Translate, Yahoo Babelfish, and Bing Translator.

I’ve used the Mandarin Chinese version of Article 21 of the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” as the source text. Here is the source text:

  1. ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ??
  2. ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ??
  3. ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?; ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?, ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?, ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ??

And here is the English translation:

1.      Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

2.      Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.

3.      The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Google Translate (translate.google.com)

Google Translate uses statistical machine translation. Google Translate has analyzed millions of bilingual text in order to “learn” the language. It looks for patterns in the language, which helps it decide on the best translation for you through an intelligent guessing system.

Google Translation:

1. Everyone has, directly or through freely chosen representatives in government of his country’s rights.
2. Everyone has equal opportunity to participate in their public rights.
3. the people’s will is the basis of the authority of government; this will be in periodic and genuine elections be expressed in the election shall be by universal and equal suffrage and by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Yahoo Babelfish (babelfish.yahoo.com)

Yahoo Babelfish is powered by SYSTRAN technology. It uses hybrid machine translation, which is a combination of rule-based and statistical translation methods.

Babelfish Translation:

1.       Everybody has direct or participation through free choice representative governs our country the right.

2.       Everybody has the equal opportunity to participate in our country official business the right.

3.       People’s will is the government authority foundation; This will should displays by regular and the true election, but elects should rest on the universal peace and so on voting right, and carries on by the secret ballot or the suitable free vote procedure.

Bing Translator (microsofttranslator.com)

Microsoft has its own statistical machine translation technology. Bing Translator is the newest out the three machine translators being tested.

Bing Translation:

1.       every person has, directly or through freely chosen representatives involved in the governance of their own rights.

2.       everyone shall have the right to equal opportunity to participate in national public service.

3.       the will of the people is the basis of the authority of the Government; This will be in periodic and genuine elections, the election shall be by universal and equal voting rights, and by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.


Yahoo Babelfish is clearly the worst one. Sentences in Chinese are structured differently than sentences in English, but Babelfish did not recognize that. Bing Translator and Google Translate had some grammatical mistakes and confusing phrases, but at least you can tell what the main idea is. If you use short sentences, then the result will be better. Perhaps in Part 2 I will perform more tests with Google Translate and Bing Translator.

Edit:Part 2 has been released!

22 thoughts on “Which machine translator is the best?

  1. Pingback: Which machine translator is the best? Part II | The WikiTranslation Blog

  2. Pingback: Which is the best software to translate from English to Spanish besides Google Translate? - Quora

  3. Traductor

    Have you compared/tested Systran v. Babylon? OR Systran v. other software/programs? What software, in yor opinion, offers the best translation?

  4. Kenton Painter

    Howdy. Basically wanted to leave a quick comment and inquire exactly where you grabbed your blog model I will be creating own wordpress blog and tremendously really like your personal template.

  5. Louisa Forkey

    Garlic clove exactly like rainy soil, nonetheless, not really overly moist. Provide them with a number of eco-friendly fertilizer. Start off building a berry remain today. Market your very own crop along the side of the trail. I’ll stop related to tomato fruit and vegetables, while not soda and pop.

  6. Leif Carinio

    But a smiling visitor here to share the love (:, btw great design and style. “Reading well is one of the great pleasures that solitude can afford you.” by Harold Bloom.

  7. gahwioehawio

    Which machine translator is the best? | The WikiTranslation Blog I was suggested this website by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my problem. You’re incredible! Thanks! your article about Which machine translator is the best? | The WikiTranslation BlogBest Regards Yoder

  8. Iraqi Dinar

    Throughout the grand scheme of things you secure an A for effort and hard work. Exactly where you lost me personally ended up being on the specifics. As as the maxim goes, the devil is within the details… And it could not be much more correct proper here. Having said that, permit me inform you what did do the job. Your text is pretty engaging and that is possibly the reason why I’m generating the effort as a way to comment. I do not make it a regular habit of performing that. Second, although I can definitely notice the jumps in reason you make, I’m not actually confident of how you appear to unite your suggestions that support to make the actual final result. For the moment I will yield to your position but trust inside the future you link your dots far better.

  9. random commissions detector bonus

    Along with every thing which appears to be building throughout this specific area, many of your points of view are generally very exciting. Having said that, I am sorry, because I can not give credence to your entire theory, all be it exhilarating none the less. It would seem to everyone that your opinions are generally not totally validated and in fact you are your self not entirely certain of the point. In any case I did take pleasure in examining it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>