Daniel Lemire's blog

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DeepL is as good as human translators?

10 thoughts on “DeepL is as good as human translators?”

  1. Francis Lalonde says:

    I had to re-read the french text myself twice, but my understanding is that the daughters are that of the grandmother, not Michel’s. Like Bing and Google, DepL translated it to “His two daughters” instead of “Her two daughters”. It should be possible to infer that from the following sentence, “Elle n’est plus en état de vivre seule”, but I’m not convinced all cases will be able to get resolved without semantic analysis to infer family structure, which I myself needed to confirm the sense of it.

    DepL’s sure looks like a step forward, but it’s probably still just a well-trained text robot.

    1. DepL’s sure looks like a step forward, but it’s probably still just a well-trained text robot.

      I think we have not broken the Turing test yet, for sure.

      However, please consider that most human beings are terrible at translation. For example, I only saw the mistake once you pointed it out.

      Most of us make plenty of mistakes while translating. You have to put the bar at a reasonable level.

      I’m also explicit in my post that I do not think we are close to the “professional level” of translation. That’s going to be much harder.

  2. Jonathan Graehl says:

    You shouldn’t test on things that have already been translated by humans and potentially used as training data. Ideally, write something completely new.

  3. David Guy says:

    I tried the sentence: “Toujours tiré à quatre épingles, il connaît bien les impératifs de sa profession.” and none of the automated translators, including DeepL, recognized the expression “tirer à quatre épingles.” They all gave literal translations.

    None of the idioms I tried were translated correctly. These engines still have a ways to go compared even to a non-professional translator.

  4. Roger McKeon says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with Daniel. I have tested DeepL on a difficult philosophical article and on the text of a children’s book. (E->F in both cases). I find DeepL absolutely tremendous. It doesn’t think, of course, but that’s not really the point. Its output is way superior to Google’s or Bing’s and even to the translation of the published children’s book.
    I am a professional translator (retired from the UN after a little over a quarter-century in the salt mines :).

  5. Jack says:

    I like ‘that of the fishmonger on Friday’, it’s poetic.

  6. DF Creed says:

    In some ways, deepL is even worse than GT. Often, it tries to do daring translations that, even if they can sound more or lless acceptable, they change absolutely the meaning. Other tines deepL leaves out entire sentences.

  7. Mathieu Cousineau says:

    I am not a profesionnal translater but I am a business analyst for an IT consulting firm in Montréal, Qc.

    Since I am bilingual in french and english, I often get asked to translate technical documents to and from both those languages. I admit that I would often refer to google translate for large swathes of text. I would then “correct” the translation and this would take me less time than translating from scratch. As I mentionned I’m not a trained translater.

    Since my wife introduced me to Deepl, I have completely stopped using Google Translate. Deepl is not perfect but it seems to have a much easier with very technical terms. It’s an incredibly useful tool for me since it gives amateurs like me tools that can allow them to “punch above their weight”

  8. MS says:

    I just stumbled across DeepL recently. I have decades old letters written in Lithuanian to my grandfather and wanted to translate them. For the most part it does OK, my main issue is that I’m having a difficult time differentiating between cursive a’s and o’s. Sometimes it’s a plug and play to see if the sentence makes more sense. It certainly does a better job than Google Translate, part of it might be that minor languages are given short shrift. What I don’t like is that DeepL doesn’t seem to just translate single words. I’d like to be able to use it as a dictionary sometimes.

    1. Greybound says:

      As a dictionary I really recommend dict.cc