INTERNET SERVICES FIRM Google does more than internet search of course, it also translates text and judging by its latest numbers it does a lot of that.
It is around six years since the firm launched its Translate feature, and according to Google it is now crunching foreign languages at a tremendous rate.
Franz Och, a distinguished research scientist at Google Translate said that back in 2003 things were not so smooth, and then it would take "40 hours and 1,000 machines to translate 1,000 sentences".
Today, things are much different, and as well as increasing the number of languages that the system can handle, so too have Google and its engineers increased the speed at which it does it.
"We focused on speed, and a year later our system could translate a sentence in under a second, and with better quality," he said.
"Today we have more than 200 million monthly active users on translate.google.com. In a given day we translate roughly as much text as you'd find in 1 million books. To put it another way: what all the professional human translators in the world produce in a year, our system translates in roughly a single day. By this estimate, most of the translation on the planet is now done by Google Translate."
This sounds like bad news for human beings that make a living out of speaking to people and translating what they hear or read, but Och said that "nothing beats a human translator".
"We believe that as machine translation encourages people to speak their own languages more and carry on more global conversations, translation experts will be more crucial than ever," he added. µ
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