Google and Microsoft enter Translation wars

Google and Microsoft enter Translation wars

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Right now there is a titanic battle occurring, but not over land, politics, religion or money. In the 21st century two of the world’s largest and most influential companies are going toe to toe. It has often been said in the past ‘to the victor goes the spoils’. The winner of this battle will win something that may seem like nothing but has become increasingly important in recent years, our time and eyes.

Google and Microsoft are arguably two of the biggest companies in the world and they make money with our time and clicking mice. The price we as users pay is to have to put up with a few adverts on your screen, which is a small inconvenience for the vast majority of people, who are for the most part quite apathetic. The most important thing users want is a good service and for it to be free.

Have you ever considered the difficulty language can play in the world of business and politics? Consider the United Nations for a moment and the cost of translators and interpreters. If the United Nations wants to send all 196 of its members a memo it would take an age to do it each countries native language. As a result, the six official languages of the United Nations, used in intergovernmental meetings and documents, are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish. The United Nations Editorial Manual states that the standard for English language documents is British usage and Oxford spelling, the Chinese writing standard is Simplified Chinese.

These six different languages will make the organisation of the UN hard enough, but there are still so many languages out there. Perhaps it would be best if there was a machine on the internet that could translate any document from one language to another, which brings us back to the raging virtual battlefield. Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are all competing for that coveted title, best online translation machine.

There are however a couple of factors which will prevent anyone ever achieving the perfect online translation machine. The first and most important point which will remain part of language forever and what makes it so special is that it is constantly changing and evolving, as is the way we use language. Another key factor is that the smallest mistake can make the biggest difference. Grammar is the organisation of words and if the grammar is wrong the words don’t make sense.

To get a better understanding of the different translations machines research was carried out on Bing Translator, Google Translate and Yahoo’s Babel Fish. The same phrase was typed into each machine and the results were analysed for accuracy.

In conclusion the different translation engines had different results to one another and none were completely accurate. Each translation has its peculiarities, certainly, and this comparison isn’t intended to show that one machine translation service is better. What this demonstrates is that if you need something translated and you want it to be accurate and professional, you would be much wiser using a specialist translation agency.

At Today Translations, our digital marketing consultancy linguists know there’s more to professional translation services than mere words. We are a specialist translation company, capable of providing anything from English to Arabic translation, to Russian to English, to French, to any language translation you could want – and much more!


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