Is Google Translate Accurate and Should You Use It?

January 23, 2017

For many international students learning English language, or indeed any language, google translate has taken over the more traditional methods of translation via a dictionary. Google translate is an online translation service used by people all over the world and provides super fast translations using a combination of different languages.

Google can translate words, phrases, sentences and even pages of text in a matter of seconds so it’s no wonder that may students rely on this handy tool when studying a foreign language. Although there are a number of translation tools available online, google translate is the most popular translation service, successfully completing billions of translation requests each year from 103 language options but dependent on this tool should we be?


How does google translate work?

Google translate works in very much the same way as the search engine as a whole works. Not only does google crawl the masses of content online, it also tracks the patterns of this text through a computer and uses the patterns to accurately translate its content. As more and more text is uploaded online every day, google continues to recognise and strengthen the patterns within the text for more accurate translations.

Google uses both monolingual and aligned text data, and human language translations, to create a translation model for each language. Although google continually crawls and indexes this data to ensure the most accurate translations possible, google does recognise that not every translation is 100 percent accurate. There are limitations to an automated translation of words and phrases and Google translate struggles to achieve the finesse of a human translation, particularly with lesser used languages and colloquial phrases.


Is google translate accurate?

Google is the most powerful search engine in the world and that power is replicated in its translation service. Google translate undoubtedly has the edge over other online language translation tools, it is simple to use and usually, incredibly accurate. Google put its translation service under rigorous experimentation and testing with over 20 stages of development before it was released to the public.

And Google is only getting smarter. Many who monitor the service predict that it will continue to improve as google continues to perfect its accuracy and knowledge in all aspects of its online domination. As the biggest and most widely used search engine, google crawls colossal volumes of text on a day to day basis and this access to online documentation provides the foundation for continual improvement and refinement of its translation service.

There is also a handy pronunciation feature that can be very useful to international students away from the classroom. Google translate is a great way to practice your pronunciation of words or find out how a particular word or phrase should be said aloud.

All our English language courses have knowledgeable language tutors on hand to help you with your oral presentation of the English language however if you are studying at home or alone in the library, this tool is a great way to practice your intonation. Simply type in your chosen word or phrase and click on the speaker icon on the bottom right of the translation box to find out the correct pronunciation.

There’s no doubt that google translate is a handy tool for language learners and should be used to help with any words or phrases you may struggle with on your course. However, it’s important that students don’t rely too heavily on automated translations and instead use human interaction from tutors and peers and the language rich environment around them to perfect their skills.