Google’s new translation software is powered by brainlike artificial intelligence

Quoc Le is no stranger to the indignity of translation. Whenever the Google research scientist in Mountain View, California, visits his native Vietnam, he laughs with his parents over mistranslations in the very system he is helping shape, the 10-year-old online service Google Translate. Most errors are tiny—not important enough to remember. But together, they tell a larger story: “Translation is not a solved problem,” he says. Right now, it’s less about finding the perfect one-to-one translation and more about “avoiding embarrassment.” But that may all change soon. Today, Quoc and his colleagues at Google rolled out a new translation system that uses massive amounts of data and increased processing power to build more accurate translations. The new system, a deep learning model known as neural machine translation, effectively trains itself—and…


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