I’m writing this blog in English, but I want people to be able to read it in their native language if they want to.
In the early age of Artificial Intelligence, I thought that I would just use automatic translation to achieve this purpose. Machine Learning and Deep Neural Networks have recently allowed enormous progress in automatic translation, as the following article shows: automatic translation now matches human performance in translating news from Chinese to English (article here).
Quality of the translation
Looking at the current translation of this blog, I’d say the translation allows understand somehow what it is about. It is not yet at the right level though 🙂 No doubt the future will be better tomorrow…
Doing some tests, I have identified several issues with the translators:
|English||French via GTranslate Free||Details and Resolution|
|Issue #1||Machine Learning and Deep Neural Networks have recently allowed enormous progress in automatic translation, as this article shows: automatic translation||L’apprentissage automatique et les réseaux de neurones profonds ont récemment permis d’énormes progrès dans la traduction automatique. Cet article montre: la traduction automatique||The link under the word “article” broke the translation flow. Removing the link under the word “the following article” fixed the problem|
|Issue #2||I started this project late 2017||J’ai commencé ce projet en retard 2017.||late means “in the end of” or “to be late”|
|Issue #3||I want to automate my house. I want it to be smart, so I can be dumb||Je veux automatiser ma maison. Je veux que ce soit intelligent, donc je peux être stupide||“ce” -> “elle”. “so” -> “comme ça”|
|Issue #4||I’ve selected this model 8K2420BW from the manufacturer King Electric.||IXCHARXve choisi ce modèle 8K2420BW du fabricant Roi électrique .||The brand “King Electric” is translated and should not|
|Issue #5||The hot conductor is black or color, the neutral is white, and the ground is green||Le conducteur chaud est noire ou de couleur, le neutre est blanc, et le sol est de couleur verte||“the ground”-> “la terre”|
|Issue #6||Adding a baseboard heater with Z-wave thermostat||Ajout d’une plinthe chauffante avec thermostat Z-wave||“baseboard heater”-> “radiateur de plinthe”|
|Issue #7||August Smart Lock, Ecobee thermostat, Honeywell Thermostat, Hunter Douglas Shades, LIFX LED light bulbs, Lutron Caseta Lights, Lutron Serena Shades, Nest Thermostat, Nest Protect Alarm, PEQ switches and sensors, Philips Hue Lights||Août Smart Lock, thermostat Ecobee, Honeywell Thermostat, Hunter Douglas Shades, LIFX ampoules LED, Lutron Caseta Lumières, Lutron Serena Shades, thermostat Nest, Nest Protect alarme, interrupteurs et capteurs PEQ, Philips Hue Lumières||Brand names are translated and should not|
Higher Quality Translation
There are multiple options to automatically translate a website. I found that good automatic translation is not free today. If you use only the free versions, you have limitations in features and in quality of translation.
Here are the features that are important to me:
– Good level of automatic translation – machine translation is good to start with, but neural translation is better
– Have 5 languages or more
– Ability to define keywords that must not be translated. For example “smart hub”, “Wink”, “Electric King”.
– Ability to manually edit translations
– Unlimited in volume (number of words or pages)
– Ability to access the translated pages through a fixed url pattern. For example http://smarthouseinkirkland.com/fr/ or http://fr.smarthouseinkirkland.com/
Here are the options that I compared:
1. GTranslate plugin to WordPress. See the pricing options here
– Powered by Google Translate
– The free version gives “machine translation”
– The free version is unlimited in words or pages
– The free version is unlimited in number of languages
– The $72/yr pay version gives neural machine translation for 2 languages (higher quality) and the ability to edit translations
– The $180/yr pay version gives neural machine translation for all languages and the ability to edit translations
Overall, GTranslate provides unlimited medium quality translations for no cost and no work at all. It takes 1 minutes to enable it all.
Google Website Translator gives the same functionality without using a plugin though.
2. Weglot plugin for WordPress. See the pricing options here
– Powered by Microsoft Translator
– The free version gives neural translation when available. I have verified that the translation from English to French is better than using GTranslate Free.
– The free version gives the ability to edit translations
– The free version is limited to 2,000 words (about 6 blog posts)
– The free version is limited to 1 language
– The free version is limited to 5,000 monthly translated page views
– The $190/yr pay version gives 5 languages and 50,000 words which would be enough for me
The translation looks similar to Google Translate to me. The plugin has a bug that it doesn’t handle well words with an hyperlink. It breaks its translation logic.
However, the translation of the entire website is completely automatic, and the system to manually edit translations is extremely handy. It took me no more than an hour to edit all the incorrect translations in the current website which has 10 blog posts and 2,000 words.
And finally, the result is the best:
– It includes all my edited translations
– The website translations can be access through the custom URL http://www.smarthouseinkirkland.com/fr
– The language selector menu is nice, and can be integrated anywhere in the website
Overall, Weglot free is too limited. However Weglot Pay is the best solution of all, quality wise and efficiency wise.
Polylang is a traditional WordPress plugin that allows conveniently edit and manage multi language text, entered but the author or human translators. Adding Lingotek on top of it gives an assisted automated translation. The author still needs to manage individually every page and post in every language, but the translation is done once for all using Microsoft Translator. Lingotek covers up to 100,000 words free of charge.
Lingotek allows edit the automatic translations and save the edited version.
Overall, this system is free of charge and allows reach a very high level of quality, but requires work from the author for every page and every post.
4. Microsoft WebPage Translator
Provide the same level of functionality than the Weglot plugin, with a do it yourself implementation.
For example, this URL http://www.microsofttranslator.com/bv.aspx?from=en&to=fr&a=smarthouseinkirkland.com can be inserted anywhere on the site to display a French version of the homepage. This implementation provides the same level of quality than the Weglot plugin with higher flexibility in the integration, in exchange of a bigger effort. I feel like the quality of translation is higher though (example: “Un blog Do it Yourself sur la transformation…”).
The ability to edit translations is part of the implementation, not in the translator itself, and won’t be available with this option.
The quality of translation provided by free solutions is low. The reader will have a hard time reading and understanding details and nuances. He will in some cases have to decode the translation, based on his understanding of its flaws (for example, understand that brands are translated while they should not).
Getting a higher level of translation is possible using mainly two additional features: neural translation, and the ability to manually edit translations. Google translator and Microsoft Translator both provide these options through WordPress plugins, the cost for my site would be approx. $180/yr for either of their solutions.
Regarding free solutions, GTranslate provides a lot for $0 and no work at all. Polylang + Lingotek provide an assisted automated translation that can provide perfect results but require work for every page and every post.
Regarding pay solutions, I would favor Weglot Pay over GTranslate Pay. Weglot is based on a very good translation engine (Microsoft Translator) and the plugin adds a real big value in managing translation editing smoothly.