translation programs

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mamielizabeth

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Feb 9, 2008
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I was wondering what your experience with translation programs is? eg ,google translate or babel fish? Are they accurate ? is one better than the other ,because my spanish is not good i am not 100 percent how accurate my translations are .
 

Tom F.

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Jan 1, 2002
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I was teaching Spanish last school year (normally a social studies teacher) and we did a lot of back and forth translations. The kids used google and then we had to clean it up. It isn't too bad.
 

jrhartley

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none of them are very accurate, it depends on what words you are translating, a lot of English words can have a few meanings, hence the translation isnt always quite what you expected- not sure which is best, I use google to get a general idea of what is being written
 

Chirimoya

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Dec 9, 2002
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Depends what you use them for - if it's to get the gist of the meaning of a piece of text, they are quite useful. But the translated texts are far from accurate with lots of literal translations or mistranslations that can make the text absurd and lead to major misunderstandings. So no, I would not rely on them.

My favourite was when a report on a micro-credit programme featuring the term "revolving funds" ("fondos rotativos" in Spanish) was translated as "spinning bottoms". It's also very silly when people's names and place names get translated, like July Churches, Port Silver and Saint Sunday.
 

Marianopolita

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Dec 26, 2003
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They can be helpful- Babelfish

The first time I ever tried one of the translator programs for my own use was two months ago. One reason why I tried it was to test the waters per se. In my experience, they can be very helpful under certain conditions:


-the punctuation of the phrases has to be correct.

- if you have a strong grammatical command of the source and target language it's to your benefit because you will know if the translation rendered is good, mediocre, not literal or ambiguous and makes sense.

- short phrases from the source language to the target language tend to render a good translation.

- if the translation is not good, accurate or does not make sense, your knowledge of both languages can help render a better translation by making the sentence to be translated more precise vocabulary and grammar wise with less ambiguity.

- avoid trying to translate long, run on sentences.

However, even though the source text to be translated is a good grammatical phrase the translation programs may still interpret them incorrectly resulting in an incorrect translation or one that does not make sense. When that happened I just changed the sentence all together or corrected the errors in the translation. You can do that easily if you speak both languages- source and target.

What is not recommended is to write a letter for example and paste into the text box to have it translated from English to Spanish. Without a doubt the translation will be flawed. Short phrases turn out more accurate than several paragraphs at once.


Here is an example of your opening post translated using babelfish from English to Spanish:

?Me preguntaba cu?l es su experiencia con programas de la traducci?n? eg. ?, google traduce o babelfish? ?Son exactos? es uno mejor que el otro, porque mi espa?ol no es bueno yo no es el 100 por ciento c?mo es exacto son mis traducciones.


Do you see the flaws? For example, just fixing your punctuation in your post would render a better translation then necessary corrections would need to be made.


-Marianopolita.
 

jrhartley

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basically its useful, but not for a business letter - both languages have words that have more than one meaning, so you can imagine the problems of trying to be totally accurate.
I can feel a poll coming on - which on line translator is best ?
 

Marianopolita

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Dec 26, 2003
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Translation programs can also help you improve your grammar etc.

Just to add one more tip/ suggestion. To those who want to improve their Spanish grammar and writing and are in the process of doing so perhaps via course work, tutoring, private lessons this is another way to challenge your grammatical knowledge of Spanish and really see where you need to improve.


My suggestion: Take a few short random English texts from various sources the newspaper is a good start. Place the text in the online translator, babelfish, google,etc and see what type of translation is produced. Then your challenge is to correct the translated version from English to Spanish. Bring the translation to your tutor or private instructor and go over your corrections. You will clearly see how you have improved in the language and where you still have difficulty whether it's grammar or vocabulary or a combination thereof and certain aspects of Spanish grammar.


Here are two sample texts. These are from the Toronto Star:

Toronto garbage workers have been routinely mixing green bin organics with regular trash that is trucked to a Michigan landfill, say city employees interviewed by the Star.

TheStar.com | GTA | Green bin program a mess


Los trabajadores de la basura de Toronto han estado mezclando rutinario la materia org?nica verde del compartimiento con la basura regular que se acarrea a un terrapl?n de Michigan, dicen a los empleados de la ciudad entrevistados con por la estrella.


No rows of desks in this classroom, and no teacher lecturing at the front.

In fact, that's something Barrie teacher Liz Collett rarely does. Instead, she's on the move, talking to students about their work, from the small group sitting on the floor playing Monopoly to others nearby figuring out a math problem.

ParentCentral.ca ? Parenting News, Education, Family Health, Family Activities, Family Finance & more

Ningunas filas de escritorios en esta sala de clase, y ningún profesor que da una conferencia en el frente.

De hecho, that' s algo profesor Liz Collett de Barrie hace raramente. En lugar, she' s en el movimiento, hablando con los estudiantes sobre su trabajo, del peque?o grupo que se sienta en el piso que juega monopolio a otros pr?ximos resolviendo un problema de matem?ticas.


IMO, in general these translation programs can be helpful. The structure of the source text (simplicity) is the key aspect and then necessary modifications must be made once the translation is done.


-Marianopolita.
 
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