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Translations: HUman versus Machine

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

PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2004 1:58 pm    Post subject: Translations: HUman versus Machine Reply with quote

As you know, we are attempting to translate many of the messages in our forum so that they are available to our monolingual members. There are, of course, online translation servies available, which can provide at least a rough idea of the meaning of text. Here are two examples of machine translation and two examples of human translation of the same text.

The original text (stage directions from Valle-Inclan's "Romance de Lobos." from Project Gutenberg)

Un camino. A lo lejos, el verde y oloroso cementerio de una aldea. Es de noche, y la luna naciente brilla entre los cipreses. Don Juan Manuel Montenegro, que vuelve borracho de la feria, cruza por el camino, jinete en un potro que se muestra inquieto y no acostumbrado a la silla. El hidalgo, que se tambalea de borren a borren, le gobierna sin cordura, y tan pronto le castiga con la espuela como le recoge las riendas. Cuando el caballo se encabrita, luce una gran destreza y reniega como un condenado

Translation by AltaVista's Bablefish (Availble at http://babelfish.altavista.com/babelfish/tr)

A way. To the distant spot, the green and oloroso cemetery of a village. It is at night, and the rising moon shines between the cypresses. Don Juan Manuel Montenegro, who returns drunk from the fair, crosses by the way, rider in a colt that is anxious and noncustomary the chair. Hidalgo, that staggers of erase to erase, governs to him without sanity, and so soon it punishes to him with the spur as it gathers the reins to him. When the horse rears itself, it shines a great skill and it apostatizes like the condemned

Translation by Reverso (Available at http://www.reverso.net/textonly/default.asp)

A way. In the distance, the green and fragrant cemetery of a village. It(he,she) is By night, and the nascent moon shines between(among) the cypresses. Don Juan Manuel
Montenegro, which drunkard of the fair turns, crosses for the way, Rider in a colt that appears anxious and not accustomed to Chair. The nobleman, who staggers of erase(smear) to erase(smear), it(he,she) governs him without Sanity, and so soon he(she) punishes him with the spur like him(her) gathers Reins. When the horse gets cross, it(he,she) illuminates a great skill and
He(She) renounces as a reprobate.

Translation by Bob (native language English)

A road. In the distance, the green and fragrant cemetery of a village. It is night, and the rising moon shines among the cypresses. Don Juan Manuel Montenegro, who returns from the fair drunk, encounters a horseman, mounted on a colt that seems restless and unused to the saddle. The gentleman, who staggers from side to side [a guess - I don't know what borren means], controls the horse imprudently, and soon digs in his spurs as he pulls on the reins. When the horse rears, he shows great skill and damns it with curses.

Translation by Terechu (native language castellano, and a professional translator)

A country lane. In the distance, the green and fragrant churchyard of a village. It is dark and the rising moon shines through the cypresses. Don Juan Manuel Montenegro, when returning drunk from a fair, encounters a rider on the way, on a colt that appears restless and unaccustomed to the saddle. The nobleman, swaying between the pommels, leads it without any sense, at one moment punishing it with the spurs and the next pulling the reigns tight. When the horse rears up he shows great skill and curses like a madman.

Last edited by Bob on Fri Apr 21, 2006 7:52 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Joined: 02 May 2003
Posts: 205
Location: Virgina

PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2004 12:08 am    Post subject: Translations Reply with quote

Dear Bob,

I agree, the translator programs are far from perfect, but it is better than nothing.

But, I have found a way to increase accuracy in my English to Spanish translations.

First I write what I want to say in the Alta Vista program and ask it to translate it into Spanish. Then I highlight and copy the Spanish translation and paste it into the "TO BE TRANSLATED BLOCK " and ask the program to translate it back into English. This will let me know if there is a problem.

For example, an English word may have more than one meaning, by translating it back to English, it lets me know if the Spanish word it gave me was the translation I intended.

If everything looks OK, I then take the Spanish translation and run it through REVERSO and see how it translates it. If it does not look correct I then break out my Spanish-English Dictionary.

It takes a long time, but it is quicker than trying to get somebody to translate a message for me. Cool

Traducido por Leto

Querido Bob,

Estoy de acuerdo: los traductores están muy alejados de ser perfectos, pero eso es mejor que nada.

He encontrado una forma de aumentar la precisión en mis traducciones de inglés a español.

Primero escribo lo que quiero decir en el programa de AltaVista y le pido que lo traduzca al español. Entonces lo selecciono, copio la traducción del espanol, la pego en “TO BE TRANSLATED BLOCK ” y le pido al programa que la traduzca de nuevo al inglés. Esto me permite saber si hay algún problema.

Por ejemplo, una palabra inglesa puede tener un significado; traduciéndola de nuevo al inglés, me permite saber si la palabra en español que me ha dado es la traducción que yo quería.

Si parece que todo está bien, entonces cojo la traducción al espanol y la pongo a través de REVERSO y compruebo cómo la traduce. Si no está correcta, entonces echo mano de mi diccionario de español-inglés.

Lleva mucho tiempo, pero es más rápido que conseguir a alguien que traduzca el mensaje por mí.
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