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Computer translators

 
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Sweeney



Joined: 02 May 2003
Posts: 205
Location: Virgina

PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2003 6:50 pm    Post subject: Computer translators Reply with quote

Can anybody recommend a good computer program to translate Spanish/English. The translator programs found free on the internet are good, but they have problems with the various spanish dialects. I have family in Asturias who I sometimes have trouble understanding. Thanks! Embarassed
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Donna
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Art
Site Admin


Joined: 17 Feb 2003
Posts: 4477
Location: Maryland

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 1:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, Donna,

I don't think you're going to find anything better. I've tried Easy Translator 3, but it's really awful, too. They admit that it's just going to give you the gist. I think most of these programs only translate word for word, so you don't get the real meaning of idioms and they tend to choose common meanings, so alternative possibilities are missed. With Easy Translator, I was surprised that it couldn't even handle "¿Cómo estas?"

Suronda has tried some translation software, so she may have a recommendation, but as I recall she was not impressed either.

My advice would be to build on the knowledge you have now with a good dictionary. I've picked up Harper Collins' Spanish Unabridged Dictionary (around 2100 pages). I know there is also a huge Larouse that is pretty good. These large dictionaries will give you lots of examples, and often the expression you're trying to figure out will be in the examples. The bonus is that by using the dictionary, you learn more Spanish. The translation programs don't encourage learning the language.


Last edited by Art on Mon Jul 07, 2003 9:17 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Suronda
Co-Founder


Joined: 23 Feb 2003
Posts: 97
Location: Upstate New York

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Sweeney,

I think you're coming up against one of the most common problems with electronic translators. Although my experience has been with the online translators, I haven't heard of others that will do much better. Something like the Altavista translator should at least give you a place to begin. Sorry to not be of more help!

S.
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Sweeney



Joined: 02 May 2003
Posts: 205
Location: Virgina

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 9:00 am    Post subject: Translators Reply with quote

Since translators are not the answer, can anybody recommend a good computer program to LEARN Spanish? Specifically, I am interested in learning the type of Spanish that is spoken in Spain. Thanks! Very Happy
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Donna
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Art
Site Admin


Joined: 17 Feb 2003
Posts: 4477
Location: Maryland

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,
I've never known anyone to learn a language with the programs, although I'm open to hearing if anyone has!

For me, the most effective way to learn--once I already had the basics--is simply to read, listen, write, and speak. In my case, I learned a lot just by reading articles in the paper that interested me. That expanded my vocabulary and helped me get a sense for the way the language is put together.

Just reading the posts on this forum would be a good exercise. I would try reading them with a dictionary in my lap and look up any unknown words. You could also subscribe to the magazine People en Espanol or something like that, but it'd have to be something you were interested in.
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Bob
Moderator


Joined: 24 Feb 2003
Posts: 1727
Location: Connecticut and Massachusetts

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 5:07 pm    Post subject: Learning Languages Reply with quote

I studied Latin and French in high school, and French and Spanish in college. Since them I've learned to read a dozen or so other languages on my own. The best advice I can give is to purchase a good dictionary and a good introductory textbook, invest some time in learning the basic verb forms, and go to it. I also helps to keep an open mind (I've been accused to free-associating a lot) when dealing with typos and errors in the writing of others. In my opinion, there is no substitute for a good class taught by a native speaker (or conversations with native speakers) to help get an ear for the sounds of another language.

Your reading skills will develop slowly at first, but after a month or two you will be astonished at how much you are able to read without having to consult a dictionary. By the way, I use a computer version of Webster's English/Spanish Dictionary, published by Exceller Software(available at http://www.exceller.com/spanish-dictionary-win.html for $29), to look up words I do not know or have forgotten while reading on-line. It's easier than paging through a printed dictionary.

If you are interested both in castellano and asturianu, start with castellano. There are plenty of good English/Spanish dictionaries and textbooks but no English/Asturian dictionaries or textbooks whatsoever. Once you start to feel a little confidence in reading Castellano, you will be amazed at what you can understand. I usually spend a half hour or so a day reading the news in castellano, and another half hour or so reading asturianu to try to improve my skills and vocabulary. As Art pointed out, it is important to select readings that interest you.

Bob Martinez


Last edited by Bob on Mon Jul 07, 2003 6:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Art
Site Admin


Joined: 17 Feb 2003
Posts: 4477
Location: Maryland

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm wondering if anyone has tried the "Pop-Up Oxford Spanish Dictionary" which is supposed to have over 170,000 words and phrases and 240,000 translations.

What I like about is that it can be used with email and Web browsers--I think both in writing and reading. There is a little pop-up window that displays translations of words when you mouse over a word (it can be turned off, too), and if you want more detail, you click on another button and get the entire definition with examples.

I see this on eBay for as little as $4.90 and $3.50 shipping. I assume that it's a close out.

I found a pretty positive review of it here: http://www.teem.org.uk/findcdorweb/element/content?element_id=722&content_id=114

Does anyone have any experience with it?
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Art
Site Admin


Joined: 17 Feb 2003
Posts: 4477
Location: Maryland

PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2003 5:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been using the Pop-Up Oxford Dictionary for a week or so now. It's been very helpful. I can read a text on a Web site or email much quicker. About 80% of the words I want to look up are in this software dictionary.

When I'm writing, I can also click on an English word I want to translate and see what the options are in Spanish.

The downside is that when I don't need it, there is still a little bar that covers part of the browser window. Also, I have mine set to respond to a double click. If I double click on a word, I get a pop-up window with definitions and expressions using the term I clicked over. In other cases, though, I double click because that's what you have to do to get the browser, wordprocessor, etc. to do something--but the Pop-Up dictionary thinks you want a translation. This can be irritating, so I sometimes Exit the program to get rid of the bar and double-click dictionary responses.

Overall, I'm very happy with it and recommend it. The price is so low, it's a steal.
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