Google’s Computing Power Refines Translation Tool (New York Times)MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — In a meeting at Google in 2004, the discussion turned to an e-mail message the company had received from a fan in South Korea. Sergey Brin, a Google founder, ran the message through an automatic translation service that the company had licensed.
The message said Google was a favorite search engine, but the result read: “The sliced raw fish shoes it wishes. Google green onion thing!”
Well Mr. Brin, the Korean is sorry to tell you that your translation tool still sucks with respect to Korean, even in 2010. Here is a small segment of Mr. Joo Seong-Ha's most recent article:
Punched into Google Translate, this is what comes out:놀라운 점은 한국에는 정말 쓰레기가 많이도 나온다는 것이다. 많지도 않은 세대수에 한 주 동안 저렇게 많은 쓰레기가 나오다니 하면서 입을 벌릴 때가 많다. 북한 같으면 매주 쓰레기를 버리라고 하면 저것의 10분의 1도 안나올 것이다. 하긴 박스니 신문이니 할 것 없이 뭐가 있어야 버릴 것도 있는 것 아닌가.
South Korea is surprising that so much waste will be out. That many households did not like that much garbage in one weeks wear out while you're havin 'a lot of time. North Korea said if you get rid of trash every tenth of that will probably not. Are you going to the newspaper without bakseuni boy gonna be something that would also simple.
If anyone can make sense of that gibberish, s/he should be immediately appointed as an army officer decoding scrambled signals exchanged by Al-Qaeda. This is the correct translation of a segment that is really not that difficult.
The amazing thing is that a lot of garbage is produced in Korea. There are many times when I gape in incredulity, thinking "That much trash comes out from this small number of families in a week?" If North Koreans were told to put out their garbage every week, there would be less than one-tenth of that garbage. When you think about it, be they boxes or newspapers, people need to have something in order to throw away something.
To be fair, the article does say that Google Translate is not going to make human translation any time soon. The lesson here: if you want to understand about foreign culture, learn foreign language. Simple as that.
Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at firstname.lastname@example.org.