Google Translate turned 10 on Tuesday and now its supporting 103 languages. With the new feature that Google is announcing, Google Translate is apparently improving more in a single leap than in the last ten years combined.
It’s called Neural Machine Translation (NMT), and initially it will be working for 8 languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Turkish. These are the native languages of about a third of the human population, and they cover more than 35% of Google Translate queries.
Every time you translate something from one of these languages to another you’ll be using NMT. This new system translates sentences at a time, taking into account the intended meaning as a whole, the broader context.
This will result in much more human-feeling translations than the old system which went through text piece by piece and word by word. Grammar should be vastly improved with NMT, with translated paragraphs being a lot smoother and easier to read than before and you’ll spend less time to edit and correct the mistakes after translating a paragraph. The system will even learn over time to create better translations.
Eventually, NMT will be available for all of the languages that Google Translate supports, but there’s no timeline to speak of for a roll-out, so we assume this is not something that will happen anytime soon.
The NMT functionality for the aforementioned eight languages will be available in Google search, on the Google Translate website, as well as in the Google Translate mobile apps.
Google on Tuesday also said it’s forming a Cloud Machine Learning group, which will focus on bringing its AI technology to other businesses.
One of the group’s new projects aims to improve how job listings are categorized. One customer is FedEx, and the new service lets a job seeker more easily search for a warehouse job, even if the job title or or description doesn’t have the word “warehouse” in it. (For example, “Fork lift operator 3rd shift.)
Diane Greene, who leads the company’s cloud division, summed up the goal: “Google takes machine learning in every form and takes it to the world.”
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