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In Google you can put in a word and it will give you the English on the right hand side with "translation" and explanation.

So let's take 半挂货车 for instance. It gives me back:

Semi-trailer truck

A semi-trailer truck is the combination of a tractor unit and one or more semi-trailers to carry freight. A semi-trailer attaches to the tractor with a fifth wheel hitch, with much of its weight borne by the tractor. Wikipedia

If I put in 小型客车 I get:

Minibus

A minibus, microbus, or minicoach is a passenger carrying motor vehicle that is designed to carry more people than a multi-purpose vehicle or minivan, but fewer people than a full-size bus. Wikipedia

These all seem to be Wikipedia references, I would assume they would be of better quality than Google Translate itself but this is the first time I'm seeing this function.

Any ideas as to the quality of these pulls?

  • Google is not very reliable when translating long sentences. For single words, it will give you the most common translation of it, and it will also provide a list of dictionary entries if that word has more than one meaning. Which one to choose depend on the context – Tang Ho Mar 8 '18 at 8:59
  • To clarify I'm not talking about Google translate but about their page. Like this one that I mentioned in the question: google.com/… – user3306356 Mar 8 '18 at 9:10
  • When you input a Chinese term, Google just use it's own Google translate engine to translate it into English and provide the top result for the translated word (mostly WIKI or other online dictionaries). For specific noun that has no other meaning, it is quite accurate. Input an idiom like 同屋共主, Google would translate it as "co-owner" which is very wrong and you won't get a wiki reference for it; if you input a specific noun like 狗屋, you will get the result for 'doghouse' – Tang Ho Mar 8 '18 at 10:45
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    That Google function is activated when Wikipedia activates that function. If you search 半挂货车 in English Wikipedia (EW), it'll provide a list of results from Chinese Wikipedia (CW), and since CW doesn't have an exact article matching 半挂货车 it'll do a fuzzy search. The first (most relevant) result that pops up in EW's search results for 半挂货车 has a corresponding English article titled Semi-trailer truck. I don't know when this function is activated though, it doesn't work for everything. Sometimes Google search gives results from Wiktionary too. – droooze Mar 9 '18 at 2:49
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    The quality is only as good as the community that maintains Wikipedia/Wiktionary. – droooze Mar 9 '18 at 2:50
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Do not use google translate to translate a single word. The translation can be adjusted by users of that service (and make some translation wrong intentionally). And I have seen many examples of wrong (and funny) translation made using Google translate service on Chinese social media.

An example of bad translation can be "物极必反" to "Extremely polar" (link to google translate).

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