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Microsoft bot can now translate Chinese to English as well as a human

     
3:48 am on Mar 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Microsoft bot can now translate Chinese to English as well as a human [asiancorrespondent.com]

A TEAM of Microsoft researchers announced last week a “historic milestone” – the development of the first machine translation system that apparently has the same quality and accuracy as a person when translating Chinese news articles to English.

After testing a sample set which included around 2,000 sentences from various online newspapers, researchers from Microsoft’s Asia and US labs announced in a company blog post that their bot system had achieved “human parity”. Microsoft even hired external bilingual human evaluators to verify the machine’s translation accuracy.


This claim has been made before. I am highly skeptical.
7:21 am on Mar 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Microsoft bot can now translate Chinese to English as well as a human
I am highly skeptical
Depends on which human. I'm a human and I'll bet it's got me beat.
8:49 am on Mar 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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the same quality and accuracy as a person
You mean the person who generates the English-language users' manuals for Chinese-made electronics? I am absolutely, fully prepared to believe a robot can do just as well as that person.
11:51 am on Mar 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I use google translate for Chinese to English daily. Believe me, it is a supplement to Chinese language, not a substitute. There are times when it is so nonsensical that I wonder who write the thing.

I tried the MS Translation version from Bing, which looks exactly like the Google version. From the get-go the UI is not as refined as Google. They do not provide the pinyin, nor possible alternatives to the translation. Google does. The spoken Chinese is fast, which is Ok, but if you don't have the pinyin then it is not as accurate. As for its translation accuracy, I'll continue to do side by side testing.

[edited by: TorontoBoy at 12:01 pm (utc) on Mar 20, 2018]

11:56 am on Mar 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Depends on which human. I'm a human and I'll bet it's got me beat.

I need to remember this :-)
10:23 pm on Mar 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Original in Chinese (does not render, cannot post an image). This is simple conversational Chinese that a 5 year old would understand.
你好哥, 感冒好多了, 吃药打点滴了. 谢谢哥的关心。

My translation:
Hello Brother, My cold is so much better. I took some medicine and a drip. Thanks for your concern.

Google:
Hello brother. I have a lot of colds, take medicine and drip, thank you brother for your attention

Bing:
Hello elder brother, the cold is much better, take the medicine drip, thank elder brother to care about

Conclusion: After putting in enough sentences into both, right now Google is still more accurate. Bing needs a psychologist and a treatment plan. You still need to know the language for the full meaning.
4:20 am on Mar 21, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I should have linked to the Microsoft post itself. [blogs.microsoft.com...] Down at the bottom it has this:
  • Try the research translation system [translator.microsoft.com] out for yourself (Please note, this version only includes some of the breakthroughs from the human parity test.)
  • Check out Microsoft Translator [microsoft.com] (Please note, Microsoft’s current products do not include the latest research techniques. The team is working to incorporate those techniques into the Microsoft Translator products.)

So these new methods aren't fully included in any of the online tools we can access now. That might explain the continuing poor results we get when using their public tools.
6:19 am on Mar 21, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Hello Brother
....
Hello elder brother
Granted, the one-child policy may have killed off this particular linguistic nuance, but does Chinese in fact have different words for older and younger brother? Plenty of languages do.* Whether it is important to preserve this distinction in a casual translation is a whole nother question. Especially if translating into English, which is about as feeble as a language gets when it comes to kinship terminology.


* One nifty version is: Word A means older same-sex sibling; Word B means younger same-sex sibling; and Word C means sibling of the opposite sex (brother of a woman or sister of a man).
2:03 pm on Mar 21, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Chinese has different titles for older/younger brother, sister. They have different titles for paternal/maternal grandmother and grandfather. The number of titles one needs to memorize has long stumped me, and changes depending on who you are in the family. For simplicity I usually use the kids terms, which are easier for me to remember.

China's one child policy ended in 2016, but this has not helped China's population renewal rate. Women are said to be on 'strike' when it comes to having more than one child. Surprisingly, China will have an old age demographic problem in the very near future.
5:31 pm on May 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Google Translate faux pas:
The nephew and the prostitute came. I made them dinner

I almost fell off my chair. Instead of translating "zhi nu", or niece, Google translated "ji nu", or prostitute. Not only is the Chinese character completely different, so is the romanized pinyin. Not even close. If I relied on Google Translate for comprehension I would have had a much more interesting conversation. The other person, who made them dinner, was not amused.
5:50 pm on May 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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This will be fun when the AI powered phone caller bot of Google will start speaking non English language :)