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Sometimes I use Google Translate to translate text from/to English/French to/from Esperanto.

Is Google Translate good enough, or should I avoid it?

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  • When translating into Esperanto, chose French, as English words may be too ambiguous. Though sometimes French with English ambiguity will pick the wrong word. Checking the shown word definitions in GT may help too.
    – Joop Eggen
    Commented Jun 15, 2023 at 13:18

8 Answers 8

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I wouldn't recommend it for translation to Esperanto. Experienced Esperanto speakers immediately smell the Googlish Esperanto when they read it as it's quality is quite poor.

I once received an email from a woman who wanted some sentence in Esperanto as a tattoo. She asked me if it's correct and and I thought: Smells like Google translate.

Short: Don't use Google translate if it's not only for your personal understanding.

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I use it regularly as a 'backup' when reading tweets in Esperanto. It seems to have some problems with compound words, and I wouldn't always trust it with translation into Esperanto. For the other direction it seems good enough.

For translation into Esperanto I tend to have a go myself first, and then get Google to translate it back into English as confirmation. I trust my grammatical abilities more than the machine. For translating single words it seems OK, given the caveat that single word translation is hard due to lack of context.

So, in summary: I would say it gives you a good starting point, but do not trust it blindly.

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I have a friend who doesn't speak Esperanto, but she tries to include Esperanto in some of her emails to me because she thinks it's cool that I speak it. I always have to mentally translate each word into English to understand what she's saying, because she uses Google Translate, so a sentence like "well, that's pretty cool" gets translated "puto, tio estas bela malvarmeta" or something similar. Google Translate is also known to have a very odd habit of translating the word "Esperanto" as "English", but only sometimes.

For a little fun, type in "esperanton cxiuj parolos!" (without capital "e") and translate to English.

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  • Another example: It translates "La hundo manĝas la oston" the same as "La hundon manĝas la osto" - It just translates the words in the order in which they appear. (Also, "Manĝas la hundo la oston" and "La hundo la oston manĝas" are translated with the same word order of the original; likewise, if you put an adjective after a noun). Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 23:10
  • When I typed in "esperanton cxiuj parolos!" (with a lower-case "e" and no quotes), Google Translate translated it to "Everyone will speak Esperanto!" Is that not what we're supposed to see?
    – J-L
    Commented Jun 14, 2023 at 23:49
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One interesting exception to the answers already given, sometimes the results are remarkably accurate. I was working with a non-Esperantist on a project and he sent me a text that had been run through Google Translate. I normally would have told him that this really has no benefit, but the translations he sent were grammatically correct and quite poetic (it was a poem that he'd run through.) I was quite surprised.

When I dug into it some more, I found out that the Google Translate results were identical to the original Esperanto version of the poem. He'd received a translation but couldn't find the original. I'm not sure how Google Translate works, but it seems pretty clear that someone had fed both versions into the system - so GT wasn't really translating, but had recognized the poem and spat out the human-written translation that it had been given to learn from.

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  • Google Translate indeed uses existing open translations.
    – Joop Eggen
    Commented Jun 15, 2023 at 13:11
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Sometimes google translator gives the best match. My advice is to use multiple translators and dictionaries and compare the results according to the specific context you are looking for. To mention a few:

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The answers (and the question) are almost seven years old. Maybe that's the reason I can't agree with the answers. Google Translate is pretty good at translating between Esperanto and English, both ways. There are caveats, of course, but most of the time the translations are acceptable. I tried some of the examples criticized above, and a couple of others, too. Here are the results. First the original, then the Google translation.

Well, that's pretty cool. Nu, tio estas sufiĉe mojosa.

La hundo manĝas la oston. The dog eats the bone.

La hundo la oston manĝas. The dog eats the bone.

The dog is bitten by the man. La hundo estas mordita de la viro.

The man bites the dog. La viro mordas la hundon.

La viron mordis hundo. The man was bitten by a dog.

La hundon mordis viro! The dog was bitten by a man!

La hundon manĝas osto! The dog eats a bone!

Not bad. Only the last sentence is totally wrong. It should be "A bone is eating the dog" or "The dog is being eaten by a bone." Well, maybe G T just noticed there is something quite impossible in the original and tried to find a shrewd translation.

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I encounter a lot of grammatical errors. If you use machine translation and grammar check the results, then it is pretty accurate but still not perfect. This is the grammar checker that I use: http://beta.visl.sdu.dk/visl/eo/tools/spelling.php

When a sentence has many clauses, the machine grammar checkers don't do well.

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No, Google Translate is not perfect for any language, including Esperanto. I use the Duolingo courses to understand and to check if my translation was mostly correct.
For my first emails written in Esperanto, I used the service only to check if I was writing correctly as only a human can write perfect Esperanto.

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