The online translators guaranteed to produce better, more consistent results for Russian learners

The Russian translators guaranteed to produce better, more consistent results

When you want to know the meaning of a word, sentence, or a large body of text, you need a simple, fast and reliable online translator. Whilst there is no comparing an online translator with the output a fully-certified human translator – with high proficiency in both your native language and Russian – online translators are perfectly adequate for understanding what is written without doing damage to your wallet.

However, relying on online translators to communicate in Russian is another thing altogether. When you need to translate from your native language to Russian and vice versa, you want a translation which is as perfect as possible. With online translators, it is generally the case that text falling into certain paradigms are much more likely to result in accurate translations (think academic essays, legal contracts and formal business letters) This is simply because they are most likely to adhere to grammatical conventions. However, once you start experimenting with creative language such as advertising spiel, idiom-heavy colloquial conversations, crude slang, or misspelt text, you’re more likely to run into problems.

Online translators differ in how they use data to produce translations and this is what causes variation in the quality of their translations. Nevertheless, today’s machine-learning platforms are much better equipped to pick up on the nuances of language and much less prone to mistakes (anyone old enough to remember submitting Babel Fish Altavista translations to their French teacher for homework? – I shall say no more.)

Translation technology is in a constant state of development and there are a handful of new market entrants, and little-known players youshould know where translation to, or from, Russian is concerned. Below you’ll find a breakdown of all the features each online translator possesses, so that you can select the best translator for your needs.

Disclaimer: Note that as a native speaker of English, my language pair RU-ENG, ENG-RU, may produce more accurate results than other language pairs, simply due to the sheer amount of data available to support the AI technology underlying the software. In addition, the below has been true in my experience, with the text I have translated. The context, complexity and quality of the text inserted may impact performance.

1. DeepL

If you need a high-quality translation from, or into, Russian, which: (1) is in a certain register (by switching between formal and informal pronouns and verb forms); (2) allows for the gender of the subject of a sentence to be modified; (3) highlights the equivalent part of selected text in both Russian and the second language pair for ease of comparison; and (4) allows text to be restructured by providing alternative word pairings, DeepL isby far the best choice. It has a slick interface that lets you know you’re dealing with a top-notch product.

DeepL’s algorithms make use of convolutional neural networks and the Linguee database from which the project was born, in order to power their translations. The translator is sensitive to the most frequently encountered collocations , so you’ll obtain the best results by attempting to translate lengthier word sequences.

In terms of disadvantages, DeepL does not support the widest range of languages, so you’re out of luck if you can’t follow translations in the main languages it supports. In addition, the audio is extremely fast; even native speakers find it difficult to catch on to what is being said. Hopefully this is something they will work on improving in future.

Features

Offline translation

❌ No

Voice translation

❌ No

Gender configuration

✅ Yes

Formal vs informal pronoun configuration

✅ Yes

Phone application (for both Android and iOS users)

❌ No

Definitions after clicking on a word

❌ No

Examples in context

✅ Yes (but in the input language)

Synonyms provided

✅ Yes

Restructuring of a sentence with alternative options

✅ Yes

Editing the text in the translation engine

✅ Yes

Real-time camera translation

❌ No

Scan and translate images

❌ No

Audio

✅ Yes (but it is extremely fast and inappropriate for beginners or those without a well-attuned ear for Russian)

Accuracy

Very good

Speech-to-text translation

✅ Yes

Save favourite translations

❌ No

Translation history

❌ No

Translate web pages (browser extension)

❌ No ( at least not without copying and pasting paragraphs manually)

Autodetect language

✅ Yes

Maximum text input

5,000 words

Copy text to keyboard in one click

✅ Yes

Spell check for input language

✅ Yes

Recognition of slang, nuances and idioms

Good

2. Yandex Translate

For English to Russian translation and vice versa, Yandex Translate’s language processing algorithm is widely considered to be superior to Google’s – unsurprising, considering that it is owned by Yandex, a Russian company. Yandex combines both statistical machine translation and neural machine translation to produce translations that are well-attuned to Russian’s grammatical case system , so inflections are more likely to be correct. In addition, Yandex translate users benefit from the automatic detection of the input language and the ability to reverse the direction of translation at the click of a button. Almost 100 languages are supported at the time of writing.

The only significant disadvantages compared to DeepL are the fact that it doesn’t provide alternative translation options like DeepL and there is no ability to change the register of the translation (by choosing between formal and informal Russian pronouns and verb forms. Regardless, it is still a quality choice as an online translator.

Features

Offline translation

✅ Yes

Voice translation

✅ Yes

Gender configuration

❌ No

Formal vs informal pronoun configuration

❌ No

Phone application (for both Android and iOS users)

✅ Yes

Definitions after clicking on a word

❌ No

Examples in context

✅ Yes (but in the input language)

Synonyms provided

✅ Yes

Restructuring of a sentence with alternative options

❌ No

Editing the text in the translation engine

✅ Yes

Real-time camera translation

❌ No

Scan and translate images

✅ Yes

Audio

✅ Yes

Accuracy

Medium-high

Speech-to-text translation

✅ Yes

Save favourite translations

✅ Yes

Translation history

✅ Yes

Webpage translation

Yes

Autodetect language

✅ Yes

Maximum text input

10,000 words

Copy text to keyboard in one click

✅ Yes

Spell check for input language

✅ Yes

Recognition of slang, nuances and idioms

Good

3. Google

Google Translate is typically the go-to online translator because the brand is a behemoth and we find comfort in familiar things – think about the last time you changed your bank provider, or explored a new genre of music. It also supports over 100 languages , something which few online translators can lay claim to offering. Google pioneered the use of statistical machine translation , pulling data from text corpora of human translations, but it now uses neural machine translation and yes, Russian is one of the languages which benefits from more natural and accurate translations .

A major advantage of Google translate is the fact that it supports offline translations – just what you need when you’re Wi-fi-negative and need to translate that restaurant menu whilst holidaying in Paris.

However, the quality of the translation both from and to Russian can vary depending on the complexity of the text, the clarity of the context and also the language pair involved. It returns grammatically incorrect translations more frequently than the others in this list. In addition, it lacks some of the handy features which the others possess.

Features

Offline translation

✅ Yes

Voice translation

✅ Yes

Gender configuration

❌ No

Formal vs informal pronoun configuration

❌ No

Phone application (for both Android and iOS users)

✅ Yes

Definitions after clicking on a word

✅ Yes (but in the input language)

Examples in context

✅ Yes (but in the input language)

Synonyms

✅ Yes

Restructuring of a sentence with alternative options

❌ No

Editing the text in the translation engine

✅ Yes

Real-time camera translation

✅ Yes

Scan and translate images

✅ Yes

Audio

✅ Yes

Accuracy

Medium

Speech-to-text translation

✅ Yes

Save favourite translations

✅ Yes

Translation history

✅ Yes

Autodetect language

✅ Yes

Maximum text input

5,000 words

Copy text to keyboard in one click

✅ Yes

Spell check for input language

✅ Yes

Recognition of slang, nuances and idioms

Average

Translate web pages via a browser extension

✅ Yes

That’s not all. Beyond translators, there are a range of tools which can help you to identify the meaning of specific words or short phrases.

Google Translate extension for Google Chrome

For on-page translation, simply download this extension for Google chrome and click on the icon. You can also configure the settings in order to translate particular words, sentences, or paragraphs, rather than the entire page. For help with the Google Translate extension, click here.

Linguee

Linguee, which is powered by DeepL, allows you to see translated words in context, pulling data from technical reports produced by human translators for international organisations such as the United Nations.

Reverso Context

Like Linguee, Reverso Context will allow you to see translations of individual words in context. However, the examples are generally more diverse, consisting of a mixture of text from films, TV series, reports by international organisations and more.

Multitran

Although the interface is a little dated, the content is excellent and the engine provides a plethora of results ranging from formal to informal registers and is organised thematically.

Pronunciation dictionary

Forvo

To hear Russian as it is spoken by native speakers, simply enter a word in the field provided and click on the user-submitted audio recordings.

__

Of course, using an online translator, you won’t be mistaken for a native speaker if you use it for anything beyond basic expressions. However, being understood is the priority here and that doesn’t require 100% perfection. As long as you keep your sentences simple, brief and free of idiomatic language or phrasal verbs, the translations shouldn’t present a barrier to communication. When translating straightforward sentence constructions from Russian, to your native language, you should be able to understand the general meaning in most instances.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s