Study compares Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa at language translation

A One Hour Translation (OHT) study was conducted to see how good Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant, and Amazon’s Alexa are at translating some of the most popular phrases of all times.

OHT, the world’s largest online translation service, used 60 sentences from movies and famous people ranging from The Godfather and Wizard of Oz to Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon, U.S. presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John Fitzgerald Kennedy and historical figures like Leonardo da Vinci and Aesop. The sentences were translated by Siri, Google Assistant, and  Alexa to French, Spanish, Chinese, and German and then given to five professional translators for their assessment on a scale of 1-6. 

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Google Assistant scored highest in three of the four languages surveyed: English-to-French, English-to-German, and English-to-Spanish and second in English-to-Chinese. Amazon’s Alexa, whose translation engine is powered by Microsoft Translator, was tops in the English-to-Chinese category. Apple’s Siri was second place in English-to-French and English-to-Spanish and third place in English-to-German and English-to-Chinese. 

“The automated assistants’ translation quality was relatively high, which means that assistants are useful for handling simple translations automatically,” says Yaron Kaufman, chief marketing officer and co-founder of OHT. “There is no doubt that the use of assistants is growing rapidly and is becoming a part of our lives and will make a huge contribution to the business world.” 

He says a lot will depend on further improvements in NMT technology, which has revolutionized the field of translation over the past two years. All the companies active in the field are investing large sums as part of this effort, Kaufman adds.