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Learn Thai Language & Thai Culture

2011: The Third Google Translate Challenge

Google Translate

Google Translate, the challenge…

In 2009 I ran two sets of Thai phrases through Google Translate. One I shared and one I kept to myself. Here’s the first set: 2009: The First Google Translate Challenge.

In 2010 I reran both sets of Thai phrases through Google Translate. I also created another set to keep to myself. The first two sets can be found here: 2010: The Second Google Translate Challenge.

And now we have the third Google Translate Challenge. Enjoy!

The results of the third Google Translate Challenge…

As you can read, the results are curious. I’m not sure what to make of the three year combo. What do you think?

Be careful! There is swine flu!
2009: ระวัง! มีไข้สุกร!
2010: โปรดระวัง มีสุกรไข้หวัดใหญ่เป็น!
2011: โปรดใช้ความระมัดระวัง! มีไข้หวัดหมูเป็น!

I have swine flu already, thanks!
2009: ฉันมีสุกรไข้หวัดใหญ่แล้วขอบคุณ!
2010: ฉันมีไข้หวัดหมูแล้ว, thanks!
2011: ฉันมีไข้หวัดหมูแล้ว, ขอบคุณ!

I don’t know! Why do you ask?
2009: ฉันไม่ทราบ!ทำไมเจ้าถาม?
2010: ไม่ทราบ! ทำไมคุณถาม?
2011: ผมไม่ทราบ! ทำไมคุณถาม?

Did you eat yet?
2009: คุณกินยัง?
2010: คุณไม่กินหรือยัง
2011: คุณไม่ได้กินหรือยัง

Oh no! You’re a liar!
2009: แย่ละ!คุณเป็นคนพูดเท็จ!
2010: Oh no! คุณโกหก!
2011: Oh No! คุณโกหก!

I don’t want to see your face again.
2009: ฉันไม่ต้องการดูหน้าของคุณอีกครั้ง
2010: ฉันไม่อยากเห็นหน้าคุณอีกครั้ง
2011: ฉันไม่ต้องการที่จะเห็นใบหน้าของคุณอีกครั้ง

He is busy lighting a mosquito coil.
2009: พระองค์คือยุ่งแสงสว่างที่ยุงม้วน
2010: เขาเป็นไฟม้วนยุ่งยุง
2011: พระองค์ทรงเป็นแสงยุ่งขดลวดยุง

Don’t put any fish sauce on the rice. It stinks!
2009: โปรดอย่าวางใดน้ำปลาใน ข้าว. มัน stinks!
2010: ไม่ใส่น้ำปลาบนข้าว It stinks!
2011: ไม่ใส่น้ำปลาใด ๆ บนข้าว มัน stinks!

The first Google Challenge control group…

I ran these sentences through Google Translate in 2009 and 2010, but I didn’t post them until 2010.

He tells me that he loves me with all his heart.
2009: เขาบอกผมว่าเขารักฉันกับหัวใจของเขาทั้งหมด
2010: เขาบอกว่าเขารักฉันด้วยหัวใจทั้งหมดของเขา
2011: เขาบอกผมว่าเขารักฉันด้วยหัวใจของเขา

Do you speak English?
2009: คุณพูดภาษาอังกฤษ?
2010: คุณพูดภาษาอังกฤษ
2011: คุณพูดภาษาอังกฤษ?

What did the nurse say?
2009: อะไรได้พยาบาลกล่าว?
2010: พยาบาลพูดว่าอะไร?
2011: พยาบาลพูดว่าอะไร?

That water buffalo meat comes from the north.
2009: นั่นควายเนื้อมาจากทางเหนือ
2010: ที่เนื้อควายมาจากภาคเหนือ
2011: ว่าเนื้อควายมาจากทางทิศเหนือ

Please give me a glass of orange juice.
2009: กรุณาให้ฉันหนึ่งแก้วน้ำส้ม
2010: กรุณาให้แก้วน้ำสีส้ม
2011: กรุณาให้ฉันแก้วน้ำสีส้ม

The turtle reaches the finish line before the rabbit.
2009: เต่าที่ครบตามเส้นชัยก่อนกระต่าย
2010: เต่าถึงเส้นชัยก่อนกระต่าย
2011: เต่าถึงเส้นชัยก่อนกระต่าย

The 2010 Google Challenge control group…

These sentences were created last year but kept under wraps until now. I don’t know if it’s going to matter. I’m just curious.

How was last night?
2010: เมื่อคืนนี้นี้เป็นยังไงบ้างคะ
2011: วิธีการคืนสุดท้ายคืออะไร

Did anything exciting happen last night?
2010: เมื่อคืนนี้มีอะไรเกิดขึ้นบ้างตอนที่ฉันไม่อยู่
2011: สิ่งที่น่าตื่นเต้นเกิดขึ้นเมื่อคืน?

Sleep comfortably?
2010: หลับสบายไหมคะ
2011: นอนหลับสบาย?

So very tired today.
2010: วันนี้เหนื่อยมากเลย
2011: ดังนั้นวันนี้เหนื่อยมาก

Because last night you snored.
2010: เพราะ(ว่า)เมื่อคืนคุณกรน
2011: เพราะคืนสุดท้ายที่คุณ snored

More Google Translate on WLT…

In 2009, my contributions to the conversation were Thai Translation: Google Translation & Thai Dictionaries and Google Translates Documents and Email Too and Thai Google Translate: Will Crowdsourcing Work.

I don’t know how long I will add new sentences to the challenge. But for sure, there will be a fourth Google Translate Challenge in 2012!

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My passion is promoting the Thai language. Fullstop. Oh, and traveling. I'm passionate about that as well. And photography too.

21 Comments

  1. As you know, my Thai is not good enough to comment on Google’s translations. However I notice that some of the questions, are not questions once translated. I’d love to hear what a real Thai speaker thinks about it all. Cat, even more fun, is run one of those phrases through multiple language translations and then back into English…that’s if you don’t have a life of course ;)

  2. Snap, they’ve been consistently bad with question-type sentences – they become statements instead.

    Btw: For the latest ones I have what should have been. I’ll see about getting the rest done (just not this week).

    “…run one of those phrases through multiple language translations and then back into English”

    I used to do that with French… when I had more time on my hands :-)

  3. Hi Catherine. I know that the machine translations are bad. It’s a very difficult top in research. Even German to English is difficult for machine translation. So I found a solution to me to get results which are good enough to send Thai mails. I named it “multi-re-translate”. Take a German text and translate it with Google and Bing. Take both results and re-translate it back to German with both translation engines. Google Thai translate back to german with Google and Bing. The same with the first Bing result. Check which Thai translation is better. Simplify the German sentences until there is a acceptable result. After all I get simple Thai sentences with a mix from two translations which are relativ valid in the re-translation. To simplify my Thai mails I wrote a windows app “MultiReTranslate.exe”, which handles all 6 translations in one step. It’s not perfect but it helps a lot.

  4. Keith Williams

    July 23, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    It seems to me that you have to know the translation before you can use it. Let me explain. Both English and Thai have “combination words” – sorry don’t know the correct term – that have a different meaning to the constituent parts. How can a machine pick that up, especially in Thai where there are not the spaces between words. A Thai example 0f what I am trying to describe is ปากกา bpaak gaa or pen, but component parts mean crow’s mouth In English there are hundreds of examples of verb phrases such as take off which can mean disrobe, run away or become airborne. Context is king to paraphrase a web building mantra

  5. Wow. I want one for English-Thai and one a Mac. Impressive.

  6. Keith, I understand the problem but these are computers, right?

    Also, Google Translate fails because you are not given a choice from the possibilities. Compare it with T2E to see what I mean.

    Btw: Babylon sent me their translation software so I’ll see how it handles Thai. Babylon comes highly rated. And I’m writing a review.

  7. I’m going off the track a bit here, but I often wonder why Thai is not worthy of having audio, on Google Translate, like other languages…Vietnamese, Armenian, Swahili, for instance.

    Reiner’s MultiReTranslate.exe sounds very interesting.

  8. Good question and one I don’t have an answer to. Because Swahili is not a common language either.

  9. Snap, MultiReTranslate supports all languages which are available with Google and Bing translation. It is not perfect and only a little tool for me. But if you are interested I can make a few needed modifications and you can make a test. On one of my PCs the software has problems and doesn’t work :-( But on my two main PCs it works fine.
    Catherine, I have only a windows version. Maybe I will change it to a web application in the future.

  10. That sounds wonderful Riener. I’m on Vista (still) and you might need to send a guide for dummies along with it ;)

  11. Snap, on my homepage http://www.antaro.de you will find my contact info. Please send me your mail address and your favorite languages. In this time the supported languages are hard coded in the language chooser. The guide for dummies is no problem, I make screenshots and a few explanations. The app is easy to handle :-) I’ve made no tests on Vista, but I expect no problems. And please contact me if you have suggestions to improve the app :-)

  12. Reiner, a web app would be great fun to play around with. When you get it sorted let me know and we’ll put a post about it on WLT.

  13. Hey Catherine! Did you run the phrases multiple times through Google Translate? I’m just wondering if you ran them at different times of the day if you would get different answers… :)

  14. Hey hey Megan! A few did go through more than once but it wasn’t a focus. And since you asked, I selected a couple just to see – they are the same as yesterday.

  15. Cat, I have yet to see a decent translation engine…the funny thing is I know people who use the Google translate service for a whole different reason. They copy someones web page content then take it to Google translate and translate it into Thai…then they translate the Thai into Russian and then finally translate the Russian into English. Wheat comes out the other end is a completely different article that only takes a bit to clean up…very telling that Google translate is pretty bad for languages but great for stealing content!

  16. Farang in Thailand

    July 26, 2011 at 2:36 am

    It looks completely unreliable, I knew it was pretty bad as I used it a lot in Germany and would always get funny looks but I never did a google challenge. Like Megan says, have you tried it even just a few days apart and is there any difference?

  17. Keith Williams

    July 26, 2011 at 2:54 am

    i have a friend in Thailand with whom I correspond The emails, because of my still rather limited Thai are limited, one liners. Before sitting down to translate emails I receive, I often run them through Google Translate. The two translations rarely bear much relationship to each other, and though mine are probably not the most accurate in the world, they certainly follow the trend of our conversations. Google appears almost to have randomness built in. Occasionally, like today when she was complaining at finishing work very late then battling home through heavy rain, there might be a small spelling error. hat, of course, throws Google totally but a human reading it can use context to recognise the error using the context. Google translate has a long way to go yet. Having said that it seems that the accuracy is inversely related to the length of the text, as one would expect. I have also found hat as we have got to know each other and the number of chan, kuhn, ka words in the text decreases (it gets more abbreviated), translation seems to get harder for Google, as well as me!!

  18. Catherine I think Google Translate is a fun tool and a frustrating application all rolled into one and having read Talen’s comment it has even more use to some people. When you think about the difficulty programmers must have in trying to make such an application as Google Translate work accurately then I’d say the tool isn’t too bad at all.

    Here’s what it made of my comment, not that I can judge it’s worth in Thai but I can in the reverse translation.

    แคทเธอรีผมคิดว่า Google แปลเป็นเครื่องมือที่มีความสนุกสนานและเป็นโปรแกรมที่น่าผิดหวังรีดทั้งหมดเข้าและมีการแสดงความคิดเห็นของท่านสู่ท่าเลนอ่านมันได้ใช้มากขึ้นเพื่อคนบางคน เมื่อคุณคิดเกี่ยวกับความยากลำบากในการเขียนโปรแกรมต้องมีในการพยายามที่จะทำเช่นโปรแกรมเป็น Google แปลทำงานอย่างถูกต้องแล้วผมว่าเครื่องมือไม่ได้เลวร้ายที่ทุก

    Here’s the reverse translation which isn’t a bad effort at all.

    Catherine, I think the Google translation tool that is fun and frustrating all rolled into one and submitted to Talen’s view it is much more to some people. When you think about the difficulty of programming is to try to do a Google program to work correctly, that engine is not bad at all.

  19. Talen, Interesting. That’s a lot of work just to scrape content. Isn’t there software that does just that? There must be somewhere…

    FiT, I haven’t tried it a few days apart but it’d be worth a shot. Or half way through the year even.

    Keith, GT does have a long way to go for Thai. An improvement would be the ability to chose different translations of the same word.

    Martyn, you always make me smile :-) that’s not too shabby of a retranslation really.

  20. Bernhard Hiller

    July 30, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Have you tried the Microsoft/Bing translator yet (microsofttranslator.com)? Another funny tool competing with Google translate. Wonder how it compares with Google.
    By the way, Google translates from the source language to English, and then from English to the target language. Consequently, translations from or to English are considerably better than other translations.

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