No doubt, the future is here: with the release of Microsoft Translator for iOS, Android, Apple Watch and Android Wear smartwatches, you can now talk into the little magical device on your wrist and have it translate whatever you said into another language.
Well, sort of.
The app, a challenger to the Google Translate app that’s been offering speech-to-speech and on-the-fly text translation for a while now, is reasonably accurate. But by now, everyone knows not to expect too much from machine translation — for every surprisingly accurate result, there are still too many garbled misunderstandings or out-of-context translations.
Android Police answers this question with an in-depth comparison between the two apps. In short, Microsoft Translator offers a prettier interface and the smartwatch versions but lacks many other features that the more mature Google app has been offering for a long time now: offline use, live conversation mode, more comfortable copying of results, and the visual/camera translation.
As far as accuracy is concerned, the jury is still out. We’d love to hear from you about your experiences with both apps — how do they stack up in your language pair? Let us know in the comments.
As you might have, heard, Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton sent a letter signed by 47 Republican Senators to Iranian leaders explaining the US Constitution and warning them about signing a nuclear arms deal with President Obama. The Senator also tweeted a Farsi version of the letter.
If that wasn’t bad enough, it turns out that the Farsi version of the letter “reads like a Middle Schooler wrote it”, according to Foreign Policy. Here’s an excerpt from the translation, as it would read to a Farsi speaker:
The meaning of these two articles of Constitution is that we any agreement related to your armed nuclear program is not passed by the Congress is that not anything more than an agreement between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei don’t consider. Whoever replaces the president could remove such a chairmanship agreement with the movement of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.
Foreign Policy suspects that Senator Cotton relied on Google Translate instead of hiring a high-quality human translator. It’s something we recommend even when the stakes are somewhat lower than international nuclear negotiations.
We’ve been following Skype Translator since the summer, when the company revealed a demo video of the real-time translation software. It seemed like science-fiction then, but now a beta version has been rolled out and the first reviews are coming in. (more…)
It’s an old dream that pops up in science fiction time and again: on-the-fly language translation that lets speakers of different languages communicate as if they understood each other directly. In Star Trek, Kirk and Spock have their tricorders, and in Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a “babel fish” burrows into your ear to send a translation directly into your brain. (more…)