In silence I feel full; With speech I sense emptiness.

On Reading the Prince and Comparison on Translation Services


Recently, I've been considering changing the cloud service provider of my cell phone, so I'm cleaning up my photo albums to reduce the cost of migration and to say "goodbye to the past" and "not to be burdened by memories". I found some screenshots left when I read the English version of The Prince in 2017. I can't exactly remember the reason for cutting off those sentences, whether because they are philosophical to learn or as long and difficult sentences in English to analyze. But to this day, I find that I still can't read them smoothly, and even if I can get used to the inverted virtual voice, I don't understand it coherently, so I also tried some translation tools to see if that translation works better.

Here, I compared 5 translation tools:

  1. Google Translation AI
  2. Microsoft Azure Translator
  3. Amazon Translate
  4. DeepL API
  5. OpenAI (Chat GPT)

Let's see how the translation works.

This is a paragraph from "Chapter IV: Why the Kingdom of Darius, Conquered by Alexander, Did Not, on Alexander's Death, Rebel Against His Successors":

…they are not easily corrupted, or if corrupted can render little assistance, being unable, as I have already explained, to carry the people with them. Whoever, therefore, attacks the Turk must reckon on finding a united people, and must trust rather to his own strength than to divisions on the other side. But were his adversary once overcome and defeated in the field, so that he could not repair his armies, no cause for anxiety would remain, except in the family of the Prince; which being extirpated, there would be none else to fear; for since all beside are without credit with the people, the invader, as before his victory he had nothing to hope from them, So after it has nothing to dread.

This is the version translated by DeepL:


I also tried the translation of Google, and it is word for word the same as the translation of DeepL (I won't post it here), probably because there is a mature translation of this book.

The translation of ChatGPT (GPT3.5) feels a little creative, but there are some mistakes in the translation, such as "must reckon on finding a united people":


This is the version translated by Microsoft Azure :


We can see that there are some areas of improvement, such as the word change of "被腐蚀" and "腐败", but there are also some problematic areas, such as "were his adversary once There are also some problems, such as "were his adversary once overcome and defeated in the field" is translated as "once defeated and defeated in the battlefield", which is a repeated word. It is said that Microsoft and OpenAI are cooperating, so is this seemingly free translation component also from GPT's model?

The translation of Amazon Translate, which feels unnatural in too many places:


So, looking at the translation of this paragraph alone, my ranking of the translation tool "English to Chinese" is as follows:

DeepL = Google > Microsoft Azure > ChatGPT > AWS

If you compare the prices of translations, the most expensive one is ChatGPT, followed by DeepL, and the cheapest one is Azure.


At the same time, my company also compared the effect of "English to Spanish", probably the best is DeepL, followed by Azure, Google and OpenAI in the middle, the worst is AWS, probably AWS really rely on the family bucket bundle to make a fortune. :)

In this way, the most cost-effective is actually Microsoft Azure.

The following continues to select some of my previous excerpts, using DeepL for analysis.

In Chapter VIII: Of Those Who By Their Crimes Come to Be Princes:

Hence we may learn the lesson that on seizing a state, the usurper should make haste to inflict what injuries he must, at a stroke, that he may not have to renew them daily, but be enabled by their discontinuance to reassure men's minds, and afterwards win them over by benefits. Whosoever, either through timidity or from following bad counsels, adopts a Contrary course, must keep the sword always drawn, and can put no trust in his subjects, who suffering from continued and constantly renewed severities, will never yield him their confidence. Injuries, therefore, should be inflicted all at once, that their ill savour being less lasting may the less offend; whereas, benefits should be conferred little by little, that so they may be more fully relished.



In fact, this paragraph shows why the book is so controversial, because it asserts that "if necessary, a monarch should use immoral means to achieve goals (such as honor and survival)," and explains exactly how to do so.

In Chapter XII: How Many Different Kinds of Soldiers There Are, and of Mercenaries:

But I desire to demonstrate still more clearly the untoward character of these forces. Captains of mercenaries are either able men or they are not. If they are, you cannot trust them, since they will always seek their own aggrandizement, either by overthrowing you who are their master, or by the overthrow of others contrary to your desire. On the other hand, if your captain be not an able man the chances are you will be ruined. And if it be said that whoever has arms in his hands will act in the same way whether he be a mercenary or no, I answer that when arms have to be employed by a Prince or a Republic …



In the same Chapter:

The Milanese, in like manner, when Duke Filippo died, took Francesco Sforza into their pay to conduct the war against the Venetians. But he, after defeating the enemy at Caravaggio, combined with them to overthrow the Milanese, his masters. His father too while in the pay of Giovanna, Queen of Naples, suddenly left her without troops, obliging her, in order to save her kingdom, to throw herself into the arms of the King of Aragon.

And if it be said that in times past the Venetians and the Florentines have extended their dominions by means of these arms, and that their captains have served them faithfully, without seeking to make themselves their masters,I answer that in this respect the Florentines have been fortunate because among those …




In Chapter XIX: That a Prince Should Seek to Escape Contempt and Hatred:

Whence it followed that those Emperors who had not inherited or won for themselves such authority as enabled them to keep both people and soldiers in check, were always ruined. The most of them, and those especially who came to the Empire new and without experience, seeing the difficulty of dealing with these conflicting humours, set themselves to satisfy the soldiers, and made little account of offending the people. And for them this was a necessary course to take; for as Princes cannot escape being hated by some, they should, in the first place, endeavour not to be hated by a class; failing in which, they must do all they can to escape the hatred of that class which is the stronger. Wherefore those Emperors who, by reason of their newness, stood in need of extraordinary support, sided with …




  1. The bad translation of AWS and the good translation of Microsoft are something I didn't expect; the other thing is about OpenAI, which actually has a lot of possibilities because of its API, and there will be different models and parameters to choose from than ChatGPT.

  2. The book "The Princess" is small and not too complicated, but to read it, you need not only a solid knowledge of English (many omissions and inversions), but also a better understanding of Western history; but its thinking is very clear, and it is very suitable for ruling a country or governing a company.

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