March 9, 2010
Here's me reading a thing that I wrote
PenTales is something I have difficulty explaining, so you can read their about page, because they'll do a better job of it than I would. But you don't have to entirely understand what it is to hear me read a short story I wrote for their latest event:
NY Times on Google's translation service
In the article, they admitted that the system "still needed improvement," which any user of Translation Party could have already told you. Translation Party, you see, uses Google Translate to do all of the translation legwork behind the scenes.
Google actually made significant improvements to their system just a few weeks after Translation Party launched, breaking (or fixing, depending on how you look at it) some of our favorite translations. To remedy this, we looked into different, more obscure languages that Google might not have improved as much. After a little testing, we realized that Japanese was still our best bet. We even looked into Microsoft's translation API's. If there's anyone who could really botch a translation up it's Microsoft, right? Unfortunately, in every example we tried, Microsoft did a better job than Google, and most parties ended up with slightly mangled, but still somewhat sensical English. Leave it to Microsoft to do something right when you're counting on them to screw up.
Anyway, a person might argue that it's intellectually dishonest to purposely use the worse API, and that choosing the better one might better illustrate the irreconcilable differences between the two languages. But that person clearly doesn't like to party.