Feeds

Google admits 'garbage in, garbage out' translation problem

Research supremo cops to Google Translate loop the loop

High performance access to file storage

Google's ever-so-clever Google Translate service may be falling foul of a problem known to grizzled engineers across the globe: garbage in, garbage out.

The problem was discussed by Google's director of research, Peter Norvig at the Nasa Innovative Advanced Concepts conference at Stanford, California on Wednesday, in response to a question by an audience member.

Norvig admitted that Google was "aware" of a problem caused by some sites using Google's services to translate their body copy into another language to create a localized version of their site.

The problem with this cut-rate method (bare cupboards of out-of-work translators aside) is that if Google indexes this site, it may then factor the translation into the models it itself uses to train its own machine-translation engine.

This post-modern problem means that Google's machines may be training themselves on data generated by Google's machines, which means that rather than getting incrementally better with each new model, they just stagnate.

"It's not a big problem yet – it could get worse," Norvig said. "We mostly address it by judging the quality of a site. If you look good, we'll keep your examples; if you look sketchy we'll toss them out."

Google has already sought to make it difficult for spammers to pollute the web with poorly translated text by shutting down its Google Translate API. Norvig also disclosed an approach in which Google tried to fingerprint each translation through precise word and syntax choices that wouldn't be obvious to the reader, but would be obvious to Google's bots, but said the company had retired the scheme as it was not effective. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
Next Windows obsolescence panic is 450 days from … NOW!
The clock is ticking louder for Windows Server 2003 R2 users
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.