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Online translation service
Operator DeepL Ltd
Online 28.Aug. 2017

The DeepL translator is an online service for machine translation provided by DeepL GmbH in Cologne, Germany, which went online on August 28, 2017. At the time of its release, the service claims to have performed blind studies of competitor offerings, which include. Google Translate, Microsoft Translator and Facebook, among others.[1][2][3]

Translation method

The service uses Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN) trained with Linguee’s database. The translation is generated using a supercomputer that reaches 5.1 petaFLOPS and is powered by cheap hydroelectricity in Iceland.[4] CNNs are, in principle, slightly better suited for long contiguous word sequences, but have not been used by competitors in favor of recurrent neural networks (RNNs) due to their weaknesses. The weaknesses are compensated at DeepL with partly publicly known[5] additional artifices.[6]

Word documents in .docx format and PowerPoint presentations (.pptx) are also translated. Footnotes, formatting and embedded images are retained.[7]

Translations to date are between English (separate for British or American), French, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Russian,[8] Japanese, Chinese[9]Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Estonian, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian and Swedish, in both directions. For translations into Chinese, the standard variety of Chinese (High Chinese) and thus the official language of the People’s Republic of China and in Taiwan is output in simplified Chinese script.


Free use

The use is free of charge up to a text length of 5,000 characters. Commercial customers can use a paid programming interface to embed DeepL in their own software. In addition, DeepL finances itself by displaying advertisements on its sister website[10]

Paid subscription

The paid subscription service DeepL Pro for professional translators, companies and developers, available since March 2018, has a programming interface and a software plug-in for CAT tools, including SDL Trados Studio. In contrast to the free version, translated texts are not saved, and the 5,000-character limit on text length in the input field is omitted. The pricing model provides for a monthly basic fee, which includes a fixed amount of text. Texts exceeding this amount are charged according to the number of characters.[11]

In October 2018, the pricing model was revised so that instead of just one payment model, there are several options to choose from.[12]

Company history


Under the name Linguee GmbH, the company was founded in 2008 by Gereon Frahling and Leonard Fink in Cologne, Germany. They built a dictionary for 25 languages that can be used for translations via an online service. With the release of DeepL in 2017, the company name was changed to DeepL GmbH.[13] In March 2020, Deepl announced that they had achieved a significant performance improvement over competitors by modifying their AI system.[14]

See also

More translation websites in German language:

  • Google translator
  • Microsoft Translator
  • Linguee
  • Yandex.Translate

Web links

Individual references

  1. Pina Merkert:Machine translators: DeepL competes with Google Translate.In: Heiseonline. Verlag Heinz Heise, 29 August 2017, retrieved on 30 August 2017.
  2. Anna Gröhn:Online translator comparison: “I want to breathe the throat slowly”.In: SpiegelOnline. 17 September 2017, retrieved 27 January 2018.
  3. Deutsche Welle ( Cologne-based startup outperforms Google Translate.In: DW. 5 December 2018, retrieved 2 September 2020 (British English).
  4. Ben Schwan:Machine intelligence: The better translator.In:Technology Review. 31 August 2017, retrieved 27 January 2018.
  5. Dzmitry Bahdanau, Kyunghyun Cho, Yoshua Bengio: Neural Machine Translation by Jointly Learning to Align and Translate. In: arXiv. 1.September 2014, arxiv:1409.0473.
  6. Devin Coldewey:DeepL schools other online translators with clever machine learning.In: TechCrunch. August 29, 2017, accessed January 27, 2018.
  7. DeepL:Translate documents with DeepL.July 18, 2018, accessed July 18, 2018.
  8. Natalia Smolentceva:DeepL: Cologne-based startup outperforms Google Translate.In: Deutsche Welle, 5 December 2018, accessed 6 December 2018 (English).
  9. Daniel Berger:AI translator DeepL supports Japanese and Chinese.In: heiseonline. 19 March 2020, retrieved 24 March 2020.
  10. Ben Schwan:Machine translation: German start-up DeepL aims to support 230 language combinations.In: heiseonline. Heise, 2 October 2017, retrieved 17 January 2018.
  11. Daniel Berger:DeepL Pro: New subscription service for professional translators, companies and developers.In: Heiseonline. Verlag Heinz Heise, 20 March 2018, retrieved on 20 March 2018.
  12. DeepL:The new DeepL Pro pricing models: free trial, lower prices, team accounts.October 11, 2018, accessed October 20, 2018.
  13. Company Register.Bundesanzeiger Verlag, retrieved on 7 September 2018.
  14. Is Deepl speculating on the Google exit, Jaroslaw Kutylowski?March 25, 2020, accessed April 21, 2020.