Just a cool little tidbit for those of you who correspond with Thai people or would simply like a rough translation of websites that are written in Thai. Google has added Thai language support in Google Translate.
The only gripe I might have about it is that it translates English -> Thai Script or Thai Script -> English. You cannot simply type in “Sawadee” and get back “Hello.” Likewise if you type in “Hello” you get สวัสดี. That’s great if you can read Thai Script but you can’t ever be too sure of the translation if you don’t read Thai Script.
One of the best ways to test of translator (in my opinion) is to give it text in a source language, translate that into your target language, and then use the same tool to translate the target language back into the source language. This will give you a pretty good idea of whether or not things are keeping their meanings during the translation process.
So for a test I took one of the stories appearing on the homepage of Bangkok Diaries and gave it a shot. For the sake of keeping this as simple as possible I only selected the first sentence from author DougBangkok’s post How to Learn Thai Like a 4 Year Old Kid.
The original text:
How does a child learn a language? They are born unable to speak, and for the first 12 months, just make noises. But after 12 months, words come. Single words initially, but by 24 months, most children are speaking in simple sentences and have a vocabulary of several hundred words.
And Google’s translation of the above:
อย่างไร เด็กเรียนภาษา? กำเนิดพวกเขาจะไม่สามารถพูดและแรก 12 เดือนเพียงทำให้ noises. 12 เดือนแต่หลังจากคำมา. เดี่ยวคำชั้นแรกแต่ 24 เดือนโดยส่วนใหญ่มีเด็กในพูดง่ายๆประโยคและมีคำศัพท์หลายร้อยคำ.
It seems to have choked on the word “noises” and doesn’t really do numbers though there probably isn’t any need to translate numbers so no points off for that.
So now the real test is to translate it back into English and see how closely it resembles the original text:
How children learn language? Origin, they can not say the first 12 months and just make noises. 12 months, but after word came. Single word at first, but by 24 months most children are speaking in simple sentences and a vocabulary of hundreds of words.