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We tested Google Translate using Afrikaans and Zulu – Here are the results

Google Translate[1] is a useful resource for translating text online, and is continuously improving its ability and range. The tool supports over 100 languages, and includes features such as bilingual conversation support, character recognition, and offline translation. We decided to test how effective Google Translate is when it comes to Afrikaans and Zulu, and used phrases from the Constitution of South Africa.

The Constitution is available in all 11 official languages, and provides a good base for the comparison. While Google Translate made a few contextual errors, it managed to translate a surprising amount of technical terminology – as shown below.


Zulu


Original phrase

Wonke umuntu uyalingana phambi komthetho, futhi unelungelo elilinganayo lokuvikelwa ngumthetho nokusizakala ngomthetho.

Constitution translation

Everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law.

Google Translate

Everyone is equal to law, and has the same right to legal protection and law enforcement.


Original phrase

Wonke umuntu unesithunzi ngokwemvelo futhi unelungelo lokuthi isithunzi sakhe sihlonishwe futhi sivikelwe.

Constitution translation

Everyone has inherent dignity and the right to have their dignity respected and protected.

Google Translate

Everyone has a natural nature and has the right to dignity and protection.


Original phrase

Wonke umuntu unelungelo lokuba nenkululeko kanembeza, eyenkolo, eyokucabanga, eyenkolelo kanye neyombono.

Constitution translation

Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief and opinion.

Google Translate

Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thinking, belief and opinion.


Original phrase

Yileso naleso sakhamuzi sinelungelo lokukhetha ngokukhululeka umsebenzi wezandla, umsebenzi owenziwayo noma ofundelwe. Indlela yokuqhuba umsebenzi wezandla, umsebenzi owenziwayo noma ofundelwe ungase ulawulwe ngomthetho.

Constitution translation

Every citizen has the right to choose their trade, occupation or profession freely.

The practice of a trade, occupation or profession may be regulated by law.

Google Translate

Every citizen has the right to choose free trade, work or training. The handwriting method, work done or studied can be regulated.


Original phrase

ERiphabhuliki, uhulumeni ubunjwe waba yimikhakha kazwelonke, yezifundazwe kanye neyezindawo, engafani, enobudlelwano nehlobene.

Constitution translation

In the Republic, government is constituted as national, provincial and local spheres of government which are distinctive, interdependent and interrelated.

Google Translate

In the Republic, the government has become a national, provincial, and regional, non-existent, related relationship.


Afrikaans


Original phrase

Elkeen is gelyk voor die reg en het die reg op gelyke beskerming en voordeel van die reg.

Constitution translation

Everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law.

Google Translate

Everyone is equal to the right and has the right to equal protection and benefit from the law.


Original phrase

Elkeen het ingebore waardigheid en die reg dat daardie waardigheid gerespekteer en beskerm word.

Constitution translation

Everyone has inherent dignity and the right to have their dignity respected and protected.

Google Translate

Everyone has inbound dignity and the right that that dignity is respected and protected.


Original phrase

Elkeen het die reg op vryheid van gewete, godsdiens, denke, oortuiging en mening.

Constitution translation

Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief and opinion.

Google Translate

Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought, conviction and opinion.


Original phrase

Elke burger het die reg om vrylik ‘n bedryf, beroep of professie te kies. Die beoefening van ‘n bedryf, beroep of professie kan deur die reg gereguleer word.

Constitution translation

Every citizen has the right to choose their trade, occupation or profession freely.

The practice of a trade, occupation or profession may be regulated by law.

Google Translate

Every citizen has the right to freely choose an industry, profession or profession.

The practice of an industry, profession or profession can be regulated by law.


Original phrase

Regering in die Republiek bestaan uit nasionale, provinsiale en plaaslike sfere van regering wat onderskeidend, onderling afhanklik en onderling verbonde is.

Constitution translation

In the Republic, government is constituted as national, provincial and local spheres of government which are distinctive, interdependent and interrelated.

Google Translate

Government in the Republic consists of national, provincial and local spheres of government which are distinct, interdependent and interconnected.


Now read: Inside Google South Africa’s amazing offices – Photos[2]

References

  1. ^ Google Translate (translate.google.com)
  2. ^ Inside Google South Africa’s amazing offices – Photos (mybroadband.co.za)