Inspired by The Shallowness of Google Translate – The Atlantic I repeated an old test using Hostadter’s concluding paragraph. I did a round-trip translation from English to Chinese and back.
When, one day, a translation engine crafts an artistic novel in verse in English, using precise rhyming iambic tetrameter rich in wit, pathos, and sonic verve, then I’ll know it’s time for me to tip my hat and bow out.
One day, a translation engine used English poetry to create an artistic novel, with exquisite rhythms, rich wit, sadness, and sound, so I knew it was time to give me a little hat.
This is a real improvement over the last time I tried this. The “little hat” is goofy, but the result evokes a similar meaning.
It is a better result than I expected.
If I were writing for a Chinese audience, I could try this round-trip technique and tweak the English until it worked. Then have a native read the Chinese.