Google translate does Latin?

The Daily Telegraph has an article that Google has added 50 languages, including Latin, to the translator.  It’s here.

So…. does it work?  Well, not very well as yet.  I grabbed the start of Friderici’s book on ancient books, which starts thus:

Quamquam plurimae fere quaestiones, quae ad antiquorum rem librariam pertinent, his temporibus pertractatae atque propremodum expIicatae sunt, tamen de una vel altera re disputatio nondum ad finem est perducta. Huc spectant, quas mihi tractandas proposui, quaestiones de libris antiquis in capita divisis, de  capitum inscriptionibus, de indicibus capitum sive summariis.

This Google gave as:

And yet the most of, by questions, which the thing to its former secretaries belong, at the present time, and handled propremodum expIicatae are, however, one or two out of the discussion, the thing to the end is not yet degree. Refer to this, which I proposed to me to be treated, the questions concerning the ancient books in the first assigned to the heads of the, of the head of inscriptions, of the informers, heads or summaries.

Um.  The first sentence should probably be something like this:

Although most of the questions, which relate to the copying of ancient books, at the present time have been drawn out and explained, however, one or two items of the discussion have not yet been bottomed out.

Still, it can only get better, and is a very, very welcome addition.  I am using Google translate to work with Albino’s Italian article on chapter titles this morning, and it makes it possible for me to read and understand her article.  I also have Systran translator, which sometimes is better, mostly not so good; and an online dictionary. 

And it means that ordinary herberts like me can work with information encoded in funny languages!  Magic!

One thought on “Google translate does Latin?

  1. Now, now. You made the likely mistake of trusting OCRed text. As you can see from the excerpts that you pasted here explicate is actually written expIicate (in Google, since they use sans-serif fonts, they look identical). If you correct that mistake, it makes a bit more sense (although propremodum is still a mystery). I tried the translator myself with some Loeb’s texts and although the outcome was readable it was nowhere near perfect. But I do have to say that it is a welcome addition to somebody like myself who works with classical sources but still hasn’t mastered Latin (an inconceivable idea, I know).

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