Machine Translation Systems

Report B by Amaia Di Pietro, Isabel Iglesias, María Moreno and Beatriz Quintano


This report is about translation machines on the Internet. We have chosen two different translators: Systran and Reverso. To begin with, we have selected about 40 sentences in Spanish that we usually use in our daily life and we have used the translators to translate them into English. Then we have also chosen ten English expressions to translate them into English and have used Systran and Free Translation. Finally, we have also added the correct form of the expressions and sentences in both languages to show the errors the machine translators have made.


During the last decade language engineering has improved a lot. One of the areas that has undergone more changes is machine translation (Kay 1996). Machine Translation is the process that uses computer software to translate text from one natural language into another. It was created in order to provide rapid and quality translations of foreign language documents. One of the first machine translators was Systran (Hutchins 2002).

When machine translation began, the assumed goal was the automatic translation of all kinds of documents at a quality equalling that of the best human translators. However, it became apparent very soon that this goal was impossible in the future. Human revision of machine translation was essential if the results were to be published in any form.

All translations are generated by SDL's Enterprise Translation Server, a proprietary, world-class machine translation system. Enterprise Translation Server is designed to provide fast, cost-effective Machine Translation for cross-language communication for business use.

Although in this report we have focused in English and Spanish, we can find translations into almost all the languages such as Russian, Japanese, German or Italian. There are also many companies of machine translation although they have many similarities.

To finish with we have to say that Machine translators can help us to translate a word, a sentence or even a complete text into a different language. In general the Internet free service provided by Machine Translation products is limited in the number of characters they permit to translate. If fact, the limit of most free translators is around 150 words.


2.1. Spanish into English

CASTELLANO Http:// Good translation into English
Tengo un gato gris azulado I have a bluish gray cat I have a gray bluish cat I have a bluish gray cat
Viene con su ahijado it comes with its godson There comes with his(its) godson He/She comes with his/her godson
Esa cazadora que llevas mola tanto! That hunting that you take mola as much! Esa huntress that you take mola so much! That - that you are wearing is so cool!
No me apetece ir a clase mañana It does not desire to me to go tomorrow to class It(he,she) does not desire me to go to class tomorrow I do not feel like going tomorrow to class
¿Crees que lloverá mañana? Think that it will rain tomorrow? ¿ you believe that it will rain tomorrow? Do you think it wull rain tomorrow?
Lleva paraguas por si acaso.... It takes umbrella just in case... It(he,she) takes umbrella just in case... Just in case, take the umbrella with you
Estos traductores son una patata These translators are a potato These translators are a potato These translators are a piece of shit.
Por qué traducen literalmente? Why they translate literally? why they translate literally? Why do they translate literally?
¿ Dentro de veinticinco minutos tenemos una charla. Within twenty-five minutes we must chart it. In twenty-five minutes we have a chat. We have a talk in twenty-five minutes.
Fumar es malo para la salud To smoke is bad for the health Smoking is bad for the health Smoking damages your health.
Mañana es mi cumple, ¿sabes? Tomorrow she is my fulfills, you know? Tomorrow is my expires, ¿ you know? Tomorrow is my birthday, you know?
¿quieres un chupito? you want a chupito? You want a chupito? Do you want a shot?
Han quedado para echar un kino They have been to throw a kino They have stayed to throw(add) a kino They have met to play a kino
No comas con las manos Noncommas with the hands You do not eat with the hands Do not eat using your hands
No se debe comer con las manos One is not due to eat with the hands it is not necessary to to eat with the hands you shouldn'eat using your hands
Me voy de compras I go away of purchases I go away of buys I'm going shopping
Se alquila apartamento Apartment is rented apartment is rented Apartment is rented
Se busca piso en alquiler Floor in rent looks for floor(flat) is looked in rent Looking for rented flat
Quiero un poco más I want a little more I Want a bit more I want a little bit more
Me he comprado un abrigo de visón I have bought a mink coat have bought Myself a coat of mink I have bougth a mink coat
Me gusta el chocolate I like the chocolate I like the chocolate I like chocolate
Pásame la sal Pásame the salt Spend(pass) the salt To Me Pass me the salt
Mi perro se llama Sua My dog is called Sua My dog is called itself Sua My dog is called Sua
Él se encuentra mal It is bad It is badly He feels sick
Me han regalado un peluche Peluche has given me they have given Me a felt I have been given a stuff animal
Ellos se van de crucero They go away of cruise They go away of cruise They are going on a cruise
Me gusta ir a la playa I like to go to the beach I like to go to the beach I like going to the beach
No entiendo lo que dices I do not understand what you say do not understand what you say I don't understand what you are saying
No merece la pena seguir así It is not worth the trouble to follow thus it(he,she) is not worth being still like that It is not worthy to continue like this
te apetece escuchar música? It desires to you to listen to music? ¿ it(he,she) desires you to listen to music? Do you feel like listening to music?
Tenemos un batería nuevo en el grupo We have a new battery in the group We have one battery new at the group We have a new drumer in the band
Amaia está buena Amaia is good Amaia is good Amaia is cute

2.2. English into Spanish

Shake the spike! Sacudara el punto! ¡Sacuda la empalar! ¡Lárgate!
want to go to a pub Deseo ir a una publicación quiero ir a un bar Quiero ir a un pub.
do you Want some food? ¿desee un poco de alimento? ¿Quiere algún alimento? ¿Quieres algo de comida?
I got to go to the dentist Conseguí ir al dentista Obtuve para ir al dentista Tengo que ir al dentista
Leave me alone! ¡déjeme solo! ¡Sálgame sólo! ¡Déjame solo!
Drive slower conduzca más despacio maneje mas despacio Conduce más despacio
Oh my God! ¡Oh mi dios! ¡Ah mi Dios! ¡Oh Dios mío!
He came as late as usual. . Él vino tan tarde como de costumbre El vino tan tarde como usual Vino tan tarde como de costumbre.
Do you need some help? ¿Usted necesita una cierta ayuda? ¿Necesita usted alguna ayuda? ¿Necesita/s ayuda?
Isn't that right? ¿Eso correcto? ¿No es ese derecho? ¿no es así?
What's wrong with you? ¿Cuál es incorrecto con usted? ¿Qué´la injusticia de s con usted? ¿qué pasa contigo?
You know? ¿Usted sabe? ¿Usted sabe? Sabes?
Lonely is not only a word Sola es no solamente una palabra Solitario es no sólo una palabra solitario no es sólo una palabra
But faces I have known Pero caras que he sabido Pero encara he sabido Sino personas que he conocido
Could you let me pass? ¿Podría usted déjeme pasar? ¿Podría permitir usted mí pasar? ¿podría dejarme pasar?
What time is it? ¿Cuándo es? ¿Qué hora es? ¿qué hora es?
Which class is this? ¿Qué clase es ésta? ¿Cuál clase es esto? ¿qué clase es esta?
Southern identity Identidad meridional La identidad meridional Identidad sureña
To kill a mockingbird Para matar a un mockingbird Para matar un sinsonte Matar un ruiseñor


"Translation is anything but simple. It's not a mere substitution for each word, but being able to know "all of the words" in a given sentence or phrase and how one may influence the other. Human languages consist of morphology (the way words are built up from small meaning-bearing units), syntax (sentence structure), semantics (meaning), and countless ambiguities."

This is the real problem of machine translation. We have realised through the translation of not only simple words, but also idiomatic expressions there are grammatical problems, syntactical problems, etc.

The main problems are:

To sum up, machine translators only translate literally, without studying grammar, syntax or vocabulary. That's why human translations are the most valorised since people try to understand the real meaning and what the writer wants to express.