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Free Translation

The Flying Lizards from the 80-ies had something to say about the “best things in life are free...”

Translation searches are some of the most popular searches on the web, the word "free translation" over 41 million hits and only exceeded by the hits for "translation" 140 million. It is not generally used in business, commerce and literary translation. In spite of the widespread popular use of free translation, the global market for paid translation is growing, in 2013 estimated at USD 34.7 Billion and has been predicted to double within 3 years.

Vast amounts of programming time and computer resources have been utilised to create an instant computing version of a human translator, and it has proven to be a winner in the more constrained logical human pastime, the game of chess, where raw computing processing can prevail even against a world chess champion. The reason we do not have the Universal Translator from Star Trek is due the sheer complexity and accuracy required for meaningful communication. What machine translation does is to help a reader quickly understand the general content of a foreign text without the accuracy of a human translation.

There are a number of tools available on the net that will "translate" for free and google arguably the most user friendly. This tool has moved away from machine translation and also attempts to create more accurate translations by aggregating the multilingual content available on the net.

Limitations

Google translate is used by 200 million users each month. An essential component in human communication is missing in machines translation methods: comprehension! This is bypassed by massive computing power and or database matching which still does not avoid mistakes related to the simplest ambiguities built into deciphering the human language more information . Machine translation does not comprehend or attmpt to decipher context and other available cues available to humans: for example the word "run" depending on the context may have up to 47 possible translations. This has not stopped users of phrase books, American soldiers in Iraq and tourists worldwide. You may not mind reading free translated text that has been plucked out of a dictionary, or hilarious, bizarre and misleading phrases provided you could get some idea some of the time of what is being said in another language. Google translate is free and can be helpful. It has also been used by the police in at least one alleged terrorist investigation with embarrassing results. Google translate is by far the most popular, see Wikipedia for more information. This tool has moved away from machine translation and also attempts to create more accurate translations by aggregating the multilingual content available on the net.

The widespread demand for free Google translate appears to be acting as a catalyst for paid translation services, the global market for paid translation in 2013 is estimated at USD 34.7 Billion and has been predicted to double within 3 years.

And until we do achieve the Universal Translator used by Ensign Hoshi Sato in Star Trek, according to Google, it is just a few years away, human professional translators, utilising sophisticated database tools as aids will continue to be drivers for global trade, communication and international business.