Google teaches machines to become more fluent translators

SAN FRANCISCO – Google is promising that its widely used translation service is now even more fluent, thanks to an advance that’s enabling its computers to interpret complete sentences.

That may sound simple, but it took years of engineering to pull off. Until now, Google’s technology analyzed phrases in pieces and then cobbled together a sometimes stilted translation.

Now that Google’s machines can interpret entire sentences, the translations of extended passages of text should read and sound much more like a native speaker of the language.

Google described its “neural machine” tool as the biggest leap for its translation service in a decade.

Starting Tuesday, the technology is being be used to translate phrases to and from English and eight other languages — French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Turkish.