Apps for translating languages have come a long way. It’s still a good idea to memorize a few key phrases. This is why.
It’s a good idea to have a language-translation app with you if you’re travelling to a nation where you don’t speak the language. They’re the current version of a phrasebook for tourists.
You won’t have any difficulty locating them. Google Translate is a free online translation service. iTranslate. Microsoft Translator is a tool that allows you to translate text from one Translate for iOS is a useful app. The list could go on and on.
Apps may look to be science fiction at times, but are they the translation panacea that everyone dreams for?
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Google Translate App: It’s good, but don’t put your life in trouble because of it
Many language apps, in fact, do an excellent job. However, it is dependent on the language. Researchers studied the accuracy of Google Translate in emergency rooms, for example. They discovered that Spanish had a 90% accuracy rate, whereas Korean, Tagalog, and Chinese had a rate of 80-90 percent accuracy. Farsi, on the other hand, only had a 67 percent accuracy rate, while Armenian only had a 55 percent accuracy rate.
According to the study, the English phrase “You can take over-the-counter ibuprofen as needed for pain” was translated into Armenian as “You may take anti-tank missile as much as you need for discomfort.” “Your Coumadin level was too high today,” it said. “Do not take any more Coumadin until your doctor checks the results,” which translates as “Your soybean level was too high today,” in Chinese. Take no more soybeans until your doctor has reviewed the results.”
To put it another way, the applications are fantastic; just don’t put your life in their hands. If you’re going to use them in a foreign medical context, acquire a second opinion on both your diagnosis and your translation.
According to the Verge.com, “As per new study, Google Translate is still not accurate enough to use for medical advice for persons who don’t know English. Sometimes it works: while translating emergency department discharge instructions into Spanish, it was the most accurate. But it doesn’t always work, especially with less popular languages – the study revealed that it was just 55% accurate for Armenian. That’s a major issue when it comes to health information, because even the slightest misinterpretation can be fatal.
All it takes is one misstep to confuse a patient, and they don’t take their blood thinner or take too much of it,” says Lisa Diamond, a health disparities researcher at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. “And then you have a medical emergency.”
Zoom Calls instantly be translated
Continuing advances in artificial intelligence, natural language processing, neural networks, and deep learning, according to an essay published by the MIT Sloan School of Management, have quickened the pace at which computers can talk to us — and for us.
Translation has a lot of potential for an increasingly globally spread workforce, and it can do more than just help a language-challenged traveller order supper or get instructions back to their hotel. Employers would prefer to purchase software rather than pay a human translator. Zoom, in fact, bought a German start-up that promises real-time audio translation this year.
Despite these developments, a universal translator a la Star Trek isn’t quite ready… yet. Nonetheless, there are some excellent translation apps available.
The Top three Translation Apps
The good news is that as computers advance, you can anticipate translation programmes to evolve in lockstep. You must prioritise the user interface, cost, dependability, and functionality over correctness. Meanwhile, here’s a rundown of the three major players in the language app market.
Number of available Languages: 100
Advantage: The advantages include the ability to translate over 100 languages, as well as handwriting recognition, real-time translation, and offline access.
Drawback: As with most translation apps, accuracy is highly dependent on the language. Furthermore, the interface can be difficult to use.
Cost: $69.99 / year
Number of available Languages: 108
Advantage: You’ll get camera translation in addition to voice translation in four languages (in its paid version). It has a sleek and simple interface, and it can be used offline for several languages, which is a lifesaver when mobile connection is not working.
Drawback: It claims to allow users to “instantly speak 100+ languages,” which is a bit of a stretch, especially because the most useful functions are locked behind paywalls.
Number of available Languages: 90
Advantage: It offers what it calls “Phrasebooks,” which provide human-verified translations and pronunciation guides to help you learn important phrases without fumbling for your device. It’s also easy to share translations via text, email or social media.
Drawback: The app’s stability has been criticised, as well as certain camera translation issues.
Will there ever be a day where we can stop studying languages because machine learning is increasingly able to cross the language divide? I wouldn’t put my money on that. Language teachers recommend keeping DuoLingo and Rosetta Stone on available.
“A lot of the time, a translation software is fantastic,” said Elena Winer, a Spanish teacher in Chicago. “They’re good if you’re insecure, or if you’re writing or reading something and need a little support,” says the author.
Winer, who spent 25 years teaching Spanish in public schools and now teaches adult Spanish classes, believes that apps often miss the cultural nuance of words. “We can tell when students have just plugged something into an app as teachers,” she said. “The words may be appropriately translated, but the message is not.”
The main issue, though, for educators like Winer, is culture. She imagines the “ugly American” reputation becoming even uglier if individuals don’t seem to care about learning a foreign language.
“I know some people who travel and say things like, ‘I can just look on Google and hold my phone to the waiter.’ “I think that’s insulting on a cultural level,” she said. “I believe that in travel, a smile and body language may communicate so much more than words.”