Using the Google Translate feature in Studio
Thread poster: Mark Nathan

Mark Nathan  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:51
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...
May 17, 2010

I have been trying the feature in Studio where Google will insert an automated translation if there is no match.

I had expected it to be a total waste of time, a distraction that would be amusing if nothing else, but I must say I was impressed by the suggestions. There was some routine stuff in a recent document (opening times of a museum etc.) that it translated perfectly. I did not have to change a thing. Admittedly it was a small part of the document, but it instantly made me feel guilty! How could I charge someone for a Google translation and keep a clear conscience?

I am not really sure that it is increasing my productivity. I guess it might do for certain documents, but it might actually slow you down in others.

I fear that I now want to "see what Google comes up with" out of curiosity... in fact I think I may be addicted...

I would welcome anyone else's views/experience with this feature.


Kjersti Farrier  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:51
English to Norwegian (Bokmal)
+ ...
not tried myself.. May 17, 2010

I haven't tried this feature yet. I wondered if other translators are worried about how good Google Translate seems to be getting - could it really take over the work performed by human translators?
Maybe we'll all end up as proof readers for translations performed by Google Translate?
Any thoughts?

[Edited at 2010-05-17 12:50 GMT]


Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:51
Member (2004)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Google May 17, 2010

I wouldn't use this feature for several reasons:

1) Studio is submitting portions of your client's proprietary documents to a third-party server, which violates basic tenets of client confidentiality. Technically the same applies when e-mailing a document, but there are laws governing e-mail providers that do not apply to operators of translation servers. (That said, though, I'm surprised that more clients don't insist on encrypting and passwording e-mailed documents.)

2) Even if the source document is available publicly, the fact that it's being translated to a particular language is valuable business or personal information and should be protected by confidentiality standards.

3) Seeing a machine translation often throws me off or slows me down, particularly when working in my fastest language pairs and with subject matter I'm familiar with.

4) If you modify the suggested Google translation before accepting it, does your revised version then get added to the Google corpus? If so, I'm not willing to contribute my work free of charge to a competitor.



Stanislaw Czech, MCIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:51
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
I rather like it myself May 17, 2010

I don't use it on all assignments due to reasons listed by Steven, however in some project it may save a lot of time. There are even segments where I don't have to change anything (seldom though). I also have impression that GT learns and adjusts to documents I am translating - sometimes when I change Google's suggestion containing a particular phrase after a while it begins to suggests version preferred by me. Is it just my delusion or maybe someone else has noticed it too?

Best Regards


Marinus Vesseur  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:51
English to Dutch
+ ...
The future with The Googol May 17, 2010

Stanislaw Czech wrote:

..sometimes when I change Google's suggestion containing a particular phrase after a while it begins to suggests version preferred by me. Is it just my delusion or maybe someone else has noticed it too?

That is the one thing I had expected it to do, but in a 100 page document it stubbornly kept suggesting the same error at least 20 times. I only hope that means that I am not feeding The Googol with my translations.

But I must admit that I find GT improves the quality of my work in fields that I am not specialized in.

As long as you paid good dollars for the software that enables you to use GT in your workflow there is no need to have a bad conscience about charging the regular fee. Soon enough someone will start offering a reduced Google rate, at which time we'll see our rates drop - again.

Specialize, specialize, specialize to stay ahead of The Googol.


SDL Community  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:51
What Studio passes to Google. May 20, 2010


Just to add to this thread, that has some interesting comments regarding Google learning as you go.

I can confirm that any changes made in Studio to a Google supplied translation do NOT go back to Google. Studio parses the source through Google, which you are made aware of before you use it, and that is all.

Good to see you find it a useful feature in Studio though.




Mark Nathan  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:51
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...
Thank you Paul May 20, 2010

I am glad you answered that question.

I must say I have mixed feelings, if we use Google then why shouldn't we contribute to it?

Obviously there are confidentiality issues, so perhaps it could be an option - you could simply check the update box for translations that were in the public domain.

Perhaps SDL could work with google to develop a more advanced google translate for professional translators?

I would rather work with it than against it.


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