Several years ago the quality output of online translators was decent. Simple sentences like "I want to go home" were easily translated in most cases by a great number of free translators. It was good enough for a person who does not know the language to snatch out several words, expressions and phrases out of a complex sentence. But the actual meaning of such sentence could be mistakenly perceived in a wrong manner.
Computer technologies develop in a great pace these days. One can see improvements in every aspect of computer/online world, including free text translators.
We decided to put to a test and compare several online translators by picking three most popular and biggest online translation websites. All of them offer translations free of charge. We chose:
-Google Translator (translate.google.com);
-Bing Translator (www.bing.com/translator);
-PROMT Translator (http://translation2.paralink.com/);
All three translation engines handled simple phrases and sentences with no issues and we gave them all an A!
But when it comes to more complex and linguistically rich sentences, all of the above translators had certain flaws.
We will demonstrate and let you decide the winner (if any) of this "translation competition". As a sample text we plugged in the following extract in Russian language:
"В конце ноября, в оттепель, часов в девять утра, поезд Петербургско-Варшавской железной дороги на всех парах подходил к Петербургу. Было так сыро и туманно, что насилу рассвело; в десяти шагах, вправо и влево от дороги, трудно было разглядеть хоть что-нибудь из окон вагона."
Every person who considers herself or himself a big admirer of Russian literature and culture overall would recognize this piece. The extract is the opening from Dostoevsky's one of the greatest novels - The Idiot.
You can see Google translator's work below:
In late November, a thaw, at nine o'clock in the morning, train Petersburg-Warsaw railway on all cylinders coming to Petersburg. It was so damp and foggy that hardly dawned, in ten steps, right and left of the road, it was hard to see anything out of the windows of the car.
Here is Bing's translation:
In late November, during the thaw, hours at 9 a.m., the train of the Petersburg-Warsaw railroad at all pairs came to Petersburg. It was so damp and foggy that nasilu at dawn; ten steps to the right and to the left of the road, it was difficult to make out anything from the Windows of the car.The funny part of Bing's translator was that it translated windows as Windows into English (capitalizing the word like they were talking about their Windows operating systems).
And finally, PROMT (though it was difficult to choose PROMT's translation, because they offered four of them!):
In late November, in a thawing weather, hours per nine mornings, a train of the »ÑÔÑÓíÒÓúß¬«-Warsaw railway at full speed approached to Petersburg. Was so humid and foggy, that насилу рассвело; in ten steps, to the right and to the left from road, it was difficult to make out though something from windows of the car.We are not going to make a linguistic analysis of the translation results, but instead, we decided to post a professional Russian translation of Eva Martin. She translated the whole book. You can see for yourself if you like any of the translations above comparing to her translation.
Towards the end of November, during a thaw, at nine o'clock one morning, a train on the Warsaw and Petersburg railway was approaching the latter city at full speed. The morning was so damp and misty that it was only with great difficulty that the day succeeded in breaking; and it was impossible to distinguish anything more than a few yards away from the carriage windows.If it were me, I would go with Google's translator, because for one- it translated ALL the words. All in all, I think all three translations were OK. If you have something that really matters and needs to be translated as close to a professional translation as possible, my advice would be to translate it by three online translators. Each translation will compensate one another.