what people think google translate is good for:
- translating arbitrary languages while retaining the original meaning

what google translate is actually good for:
- not much
- maybe translating one word at a time occasionally, just to narrow down what a sign means or something
- deriving hilarious surreality from mojibake

@diodelass It's really interesting how much it varies with language, e.g. German works *much* better than French for some reason

@elomatreb trying to use it for Mandarin is essentially useless lol
we typed the single word "ultraviolet" into it to try to tell an LED seller in Shenzhen what we were looking for, and she handed back our phone with a dumbfounded expression on her face

@diodelass Would just naming a wavelength in nanometers have worked?
@diodelass I definitely know what you're talking about though, we tried to do something similar to help in talking to our neighbors from Syria when they first moved in and it never worked, even when just typing in single words/concepts

@elomatreb we wonder... we felt kinda bad though after that failed so we had a look at the blue LEDs she showed us and then moved on.
our Mandarin skills were limited to numbers, basically.
we could hear them say prices and then attempt to repeat our best guesses for what they had said back to them until they stopped looking angry.
"5 kwai?"
"oh, sorry. 45 kwai?"
:| *nod*

@diodelass The concept of buying high tech electronics components in the same way we buy potatoes on a marketplace is still extremely amusing to me IMO

@elomatreb to be honest it was a lot more like buying jewelry than potatoes, albeit cheap and in great quantity. They had everything under glass surfaces to look at, and you could point to one you liked and ask to buy a bag of a thousand.

@diodelass Until a few years ago we had an electronics part shop in town, it was a really cute shop run by a former radio and television technician. He was behind the counter and behind him there were rows and and rows of floor-to-ceiling components drawers filled with almost everything you'd want from obscure vacuum tubes to ICs

That's my image of "buying electronics" physically :)

@diodelass It rarely makes sense between languages I know; sometimes it even gets single words hilariously wrong. My favourite might be 🇮🇸 hlemmur → 🇬🇧 Caltrain station.

@diodelass it works pretty well for European languages, which I guess tells us something /:

@antifuchs @diodelass It works by building heuristics using translated literature and websites.This is both advantage and disadvantage. It allows it to translate idiomatic phrases correctly, without needing special training if the languages are close and there is a large body of literally translated literature. But it fails comically if the languages are further apart in semantics and mentality and thus have less translated material and, that which exists, is far from being literally translated

honestly i find google translate much worse for single word translation
i always use wordreference for that

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