Have you read the Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? One of the most interesting objects I found in the book was the bebel fish. Stick it into your ear and you are suddenly able to understand every language. Google appears to be working on a somewhat similar mission although of course, the software giant’s solution does not involve you sticking fishes into your ear canal.
Instead Google is deploying machine learning to facilitate understanding between different languages. The company introduced the Google Neural Machine Translation system last year and is now expanding its capabilities to more languages. As the name implies, the system deploys deep neural networks to translate entire sentences. The best part of course, is the fact that it is able to keep things in context. So instead of a word-by-word translation, you are able to get something that actually makes sense.
The system was initially launched for eight languages. Google today added support to three more in form of Russian, Hindi and Vietnamese. These languages are in addition to support for English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Turkish.
Everyone has felt the need to resort to Google Translate at one time or the other. However, you have probably noticed that things are not quite there. I mean yeah, the service is absolutely fabulous when it is a couple of word you are translating but try it with a couple of sentences and you get a nightmare. The machine learning powered translation system was introduced to solve this very problem.
The Neural translation system has the advantage of not translating stuff word by word. Instead, it translates the whole sentence by keeping the larger picture in mind. In other words, the system is able to bring the context to bear and bring translation which is much closer to say, what a person with knowledge of both the languages would translate the sentence to.
And the best part? It is machine learning based, so it will learn, learn and learn until it manages to reach perfection. Meanwhile, the new, enhanced ranslation across all these languages is available across the regular Google Translate platform from today. you can access the same via translate.google.com, through Google search and the Search app, and from the Google Translate apps for both iOS and Android platforms.