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By | Lester Haines 16th May 2008 09:01

Google Translate speaks in (more) tongues

Adds 10 new languages

Google has announced the addition of ten new languages to its Google Translate feature, bringing the total of available tongues to 23.

The newcomers are Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Hindi, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian and Swedish, as trumpeted here.

All fine and dandy, but just how does Google Translate perform? The search monolith admits: "While our system is quite good, we know it's not perfect. Machine translation is a hard problem, but it plays an important role in helping people access content they might otherwise be unable to read."

Well, since this hack is no slouch in the Spanish department, I decided to put the thing to the test. Here's a snippet of news regarding a drugs bust from today's El País:

La Guardia Civil de Huelva detuvo anoche a 29 personas e intervino 4.000 kilos de hachís en la mayor operación contra el tráfico de drogas desarrollada en la provincia. Fue necesaria una macro-operación dividida en dos acciones distintas y la colaboración del Servicio de Vigilancia Aduanera. Entre los detenidos, se encuentran 16 rusos y el resto procede de España, Polonia, Rumania, Ucrania y Marruecos, según informó ayer la Guardia Civil.

Here's Google Translate's English take on that:

The Guardia Civil de Huelva last night arrested 29 people and intervened to 4,000 kilos of hashish in the largest operation against drug trafficking developed in the province. It took a macro-operation divided into two separate and collaboration of the Customs Surveillance Service. Among those arrested are 16 Russians and the rest comes from Spain, Poland, Romania, Ukraine and Morocco, as reported yesterday by the Civil Guard.

Actually, that really isn't a bad effort. Now, if you'll excuse me, since I've just said something positive about Google, I need a quick siesta in a darkened room. ®

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