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If I try:

add

in Google Translate I get:

ajouter

However If I try:

fake, add, word

I get:

faux, add, mot

Which one is correct? Does Google Translate just suck?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Definitely a Google Translate things. I've noticed in many cases before how small punctuation changes cause translation to miserably fail or mysteriously change (parentheses seems to be particularly offending to Google Translate).

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Thanks. I found 'fake|add|word' gives the correct translation. So yeah it's the punctuation. Annoying! –  Blundell Mar 7 '12 at 22:46

On-line free translators are not good, and it's not just Google translate. There are nowadays some not too bad commercial translation software that possess reasonably satisfying banks of data-memory but little progress has been made on on-line free tools.
The best on-line I would recommend is one that has just been released : the iTranslate4 portal. It is a European project and limited to European languages. I have tested it with various texts (personal and articles from the media) and indeed I have seen a great difference from other existing on-line free tools.

A leaflet with the description of the project.

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> Little progress has been made on on-line free tools. J'aimerais avoir une machine à remonter le temps pour te montrer les résultats que donnait BabelFish il y a dix ans ! Google Translate ne vaut pas un traducteur humain professionnel, mais on ne peut quand même pas s'attendre à ce que l'un des problèmes les plus célèbres de l'intelligence artificielle soit facile à résoudre. Personnellement, je suis étonné par la qualité de Google Translate. Et dire qu'il n'y a pas eu de progrès est tout simplement faux. –  Brennan Vincent Mar 11 '12 at 1:32
    
@BrennanVincent: j'ai écrit little progress - et pas no progress-. Et je comparais logiciel du commerce et produits gratuits en ligne. Je n'ai pas comparé logiciel de traduction et traduction "humaine", ce qui n'aurait eu aucun sens ! –  Laure Mar 11 '12 at 7:20
    
Laure, merci pour le lien –  cl-r Mar 23 '12 at 8:49

Given that I have never heard of add as a French word and that the TLF has no entry for it, I would say that it is indeed an automatic translation failure. It should be 'faux, ajouter, mot'.

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