What's the best translator?

First of all, I don’t understand the point of your Jisho link. Was that meant to dispute what I said? Because 一杯ひっかける means to grab a drink. It’s not talking about catching something.

I never suggested anyone did. I was cautioning of why using it as a translation checker is bad. You know the topic of the OP? And I provided an example of why along with a real-world example of someone who could have been lead astray by relying on GT as a translation checker.

This is a weird argument. Every grammar resource for non-natives teaches from translations. How else would someone who doesn’t know Japanese learn Japanese if there was no translations? :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


That all depends on exactly what the drink is doing immediately before you grab it.


The drink was dancing

Ah ha! You thought it was your drink, but it was actually me! Dio!


S-so when you were caught, were you drunk straight from the bottle?


You don’t want to know

In my vast experience of congregating machine translations from JP -> EN, bing edges out google and nothing else really comes close to google. That said, they’re all still really bad. They don’t parse context at all and can spit out massively incoherent nonsense if you so much as use katakana on a word for dramatic effect or use special parentheses. I’ve gotten lines of nothing but zeros and underscores before because google didn’t like the parentheses the original text used.

If you want a really bad MTL, try yandex. People talk about google making crap up just so it has something half-way to being semi-coherent, but yandex frequently spits out translations where nothing in it has anything to do with the original text.

I been reading and catching up the thread but what I don’t understand why is there so much hate for Google translate. I do agree that it can be terrible at times but when I use google translate on websites it’s coherent enough for me to understand through context like for example I’m going to A Japanese music festival and all the translations seem to be accurate. If I have to say it can sometimes translate sentences okay. Other times it’s crap. For example if I don’t use a name it’s okay.

Example. Pardon me if it’s a little dirty but 空さんちんちん好き? Or if I use any other name it translates crap but, if I just put in ちんちん好き? It translates something decent. I know gtranslate can be crap but I’ve actually used it to translate a mobile game and whatever came out was decent for the most part and I can figure out based on the context of the english translation. That my opinion. There isn’t any other better machine translator I can think of. And from what I see. Gtranslate also kind of act’s like a phrasebook. Whenever I type in a simple sentence they already have a phrase or translation I can choose that sounds decent. I personally use it to learn some things. But if I am going to Japan. It translates okay even if crap.

I think you didn’t understand the premise of this thread; it has been addressed multiple times already.
We are talking about producing Japanese and checking correctness.
If I write a sentence in Japanese and want to check my grammar or vocabulary usage, puts in google translate and gets barely understandable garbage in return, does that mean that:
(a) my Japanese is wrong
(b) Google is wrong
© all of the above?

Since there’s no way to know, google translate isn’t an appropriate tool for that usage.

As an aside, I would recommend you changed your example sentence. There’s a literal infinity of other simple sentences you could use that does not rely on such topics.


Try 宝石を奪われた。and suddenly google translate will get it right. My observation is that it does not work well when using hiragana where I could use kanji.
Regards the owl containing potates: When I enter 袋には、じゃがいもが八つ入っています。instead (which is what it also suggests to you via “did you mean?”) I get “The bag contains eight potatoes.” I hope that’s more accurate…?

I agree that no machine translation should be used as the source of truth. It’s a machine, it doesn’t know (yet), it guesses. But I’d like to remind everyone how much better machine translations are nowadays compared to 10 years ago… it got sooo much better, give them some love, will ya?

By the way, @athomasm what happens when you give GT some more context. I.e., enter the conversation not just the one sentence, given there is more.


The best single word translators would have to either be Japanese dictionaries or Jisho.com. However, for sentences, a native Japanese speaker or someone very fluent in Japanese are your best options.

Oh, quite. It’s gotten to the point where it’s perfectly easy to have conversations on Facebook with people writing in other (European) languages just using Facebook’s built-in translation.

Sometimes it makes me feel like C-3PO and R2-D2 having perfect conversations in completely different languages.


Yeah imagine trying that with… what was it called… babylon? I distinctly remember some of my classmates handing in machine translated texts for their english homework… they were so bad and incoherent nobody ever did that again :rofl:

Babel fish.

Ah, them’s were the days.

Coincidentally enough, it’s a Hitchhiker’s Guide reference.

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