I have been using machine translators for years and noticed their gradual improvement from year to year. I wanted to compare how they translate today to how they used to translate back in the day. So I dug through my closet until I found my old CD-ROM of Universal Translator 2000 and decided to give it a whirl.
Here is what I found,
Japanese to English taken from the first paragraph:
Take in mind I screen capped the Japanese text because I know not everyone has the east Asian language pack installed.
Google translate (Free Online Translator):
The same text placed in Universal Translator 2000 (Which was largely considered the best machine translator in 1999 and cost you $50)
Spanish to English taken from the first paragraph: http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pizza
La pizza es un pan plano horneado, habitualmente cuya base es elaborada con harina de trigo, sal, agua y levadura, y generalmente cubierto de queso mozzarella, salsa de tomate u otros ingredientes locales como son: el salami, tiras de cebolla y jamón. Es original de la cocina napolitana (Italia) y su popularidad ha hecho que se extienda por todo el mundo en una infinidad de variantes. Sin embargo, hasta la actualidad, la pizza napolitana ha sido la única, para la que se ha reconocido una denominación de origen propia de la Unión Europea, denominada Especialidad Tradicional Garantizada (o sus siglas en italiano, STG, Specialità Tradizionale Garantita). Este reconocimiento se obtuvo el de febrero de 2010 a propuesta de la "Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana".
The pizza is baked flat bread, usually whose base is made with wheat flour, salt, water and yeast, and usually covered with mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce and other local ingredients such as: salami, onion and ham strips. It's original Neapolitan cuisine (Italy) and its popularity has led to widespread throughout the world in countless variations. However, until now, the Neapolitan pizza has been the only one for which it has recognized an appellation of origin of the European Union itself, known as Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (or its acronym in Italian, STG, Specialità Tradizionale Garantita). This recognition was obtained February 2010 a proposal by the "Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana."
The Same Text Placed In Universal Translator 2000:
The pizza is a flat which bake habitually bread base it is elaborated with wheaten flour water and yeast generally leave covered cheese tomato or another ingredients sauce how as locals the are: onion and ham pull.* She is a kitchen original an (Italy) and his popularity that has done is extended all over the world in variant infinity Neapolitan.* However to news the Neapolitan pizza he has been the he gives birth to whichever he has recognized herself only denomination of origin own European denominated Union Traditional Guaranteed Specialty or its initials in a pizza) Italian.* This recognition was gotten on at proposal from February 2010 a Pizza.
From my tests I have determined translation machines tend to do extremely well these days translating one romanized language to another and passably well translating between asian and romanized langauges. Where as 10+ years ago they did nothing but translate both as an absolute disaster.
Given these findings do you think in another ten years perhaps machines will begin replacing human translators?