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Online translation tools have become quite good at converting words between languages and, while not always perfect, can usually be used for a decent approximation of the original message.
With that in mind, Google has now hired Swedish independent group Vita Bergen to demonstrate just how powerful their translation technology has become. Vita Bergen’s new single “Light the Lights” was originally recorded in Swedish, but the band said they used Google Translate to convert the song into three new languages. On December 1, the group will embark on a Google Translate mini tour of Europe to perform the song on the streets of London, Paris and Madrid – in English, French and Spanish.
Ahead of the mini tour, the group posted recorded versions of the song on YouTube in the three new languages.
It might be considered little more than a marketing gimmick for Google and Vita Bergen, but it’s still an interesting use case for translation technology which has improved in leaps and bounds in recent years. It’s now been a year since Google Translate switched to neural machine translation, which effectively allows it to get more context and meaning from a series of words by translating them as a sentence rather than word for word.
While you don’t want to rely on Google Translate to convert your critical business documents at this point, it may be enough for groups looking to market to new markets.
“The music industry in Sweden is one of the world’s most successful exporters of successful music in English, with artists such as Abba, The Cardigans and Avicii hailing from the country,” said Farshad Shadloo, manager. of communication from Google Sweden, in a blog. Publish. “But there are still a lot of talented Swedish artists who might not get the recognition or success they deserve, except in a small country in the north. This sparked an idea: would it be possible to use Google Translate for the sole purpose of breaking up a Swedish group internationally? “
It’s not entirely clear whether the band (or Google) ran the translated lyrics past a human translator to make sure there was nothing too ridiculous about it. In all fairness, it’s hard to distinguish every word from the audio recordings, and the song lyrics don’t always make a lot of sense anyway, so the band can probably do it without too much control anyway.
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