Google Translate has added Latin to the ever-expanding list of languages the free service offers – in which the old-fashioned ‘Lorum ipsum dolor’ (or lipsum) is upgraded to a more modern ‘Hello World!’
In apost to the official Google blogtitled ‘Veni, Vidi, Verba Verti’ (which the service translates as ‘I came, I saw, I translated the words’), Igeniarius Programmandi Jakob Uszkoreit correctly points out that althoughit isn’t likely to be used to translate emails (with some exceptions,maybe) the new service is an excellent tool for scholars all over the world as many ancient and medieval works on philosophy, religion and science are written in Latin, many of those available in Google Books.
Uszkoreit is convinced the system still in alpha will soon deliver accurate translations, as Latin grammar and vocabulary ceased evolving and Google is using the ‘thousands’ of Latin books already translated to a variety of languages to train the system. As an example he quotes Caesar’s ‘The Gallic Wars’. Yet, when put to the test regarding Caesar’s conquest of Pharnaces, Google Translate gets a bit confused (depending on punctuation):
- veni vidi vici tranlates asI saw the street of
- EPWohlfart contributed thatveni vidi vici!translates as I came, I saw the time!
- veni, vidi, vici translatescorrectlyas I came, I saw, I conquered
To the system’s defence, it does get all the other Latin phrases I’ve mangedto remember from high school (not that many, there’s cave canem, alea jacta est, the first few phrases of the’Pater Noster’ and mens sana in corpore sano) right and… to my utter delight, a text-to-speech system was added as well which pronounces ‘Caesar’ with a ‘k’. Told you so!
Can you find any (highly or midly) entertaining mistakes and/or ‘easter eggs’ in Google’s Latin to English translation service comes up with?
PS. Should there by any mistakes in the title of this blogpost, blame Google Translate. 😉