In thisreview, I willmake a detaileddescription of one of themostfamous online translators in Internet, thatistosayGoogle translator. Then, wewill compare itwithothertwotranslators: Yahoo Babel Fish, and Reverso.
Google Translateis a languageresourcewhichisabletotranslatetexts, web pages and documentsintodifferentlanguages. This online linguistictoolappearedon 2006 and itisone of themostusedtranslatorsaroundtheworld. ItwascreatedbyGoogle Inc.
There are twoversionsavailable of Google Translate. ThefirstonewasdesignedforiPhoneusers in 2008 and thistranslatorcoverabout 23 differentlanguages. Then, thesecondonewasdeveloped as anAndroidversionwhichwasdividedmainlyintotwooptions: “ SMS translation” and “History”.
Theincorporation of languagesavailable in thetranslatorswasprogressive.Therewere 23 stages. ThefirstcombinationwereEnglish- French, English- German, and English- Spanish. Nowadaysitispossibletofind a differenttranslationfortheword.
METHODOLOGY The method used by Google Translator is statistical method translation. This statistical method translation was created due to a bilingual text corpus which contained about a million words. In addition, a second corpora of a billion words is incorporated in the statistical method.
USING THE TRANSLATOR Tostartwith, wehavetochoosethelanguageswewanttoworkwith. There are 52.
Then we have to paste the text we have chosen to translate and paste on the box. Once we have done it, we press the button “translate” we wait until the translation appears on an open window with the translated version. If we want to translate a document, we simply press the option "translate a document”. It will appear a box with the option “examinar”. Then we have to choose the document and automatically the translator will do its job.
Thetranslatorisabletotranslatedifferenttypes of textsavailablefromdifferentsourceslikewebpages. In additionitispossibletotranslate personal documentswith Google Translate as we can see in theimagebelow.
Translatingdifferenttypes of text In ordertocheckthecompetence of thetranslator, wehavedecidedtotranslatetwotexts of differentnature. Thefirstoneis a literarytext, particularly a poem, in this case a sonnetwrittenby William Shakespeare in 1609. Thetitle of thepoemis “ Shall I compare theeto a summer’sday?”. In thenextslideswe can seethe original text, thetranslatedversion and my owntranslation:
FAILURES AND PROBLEMS Due to the automatic nature of the translator, there is a group of errors which are repeated along the poem. When we are working with a translation tool, we have to keep in mind that it will never be the same as a human translation. In addition, it is not the same to translate a short text with easy grammatical structures and phrases than translating a long text with rhetorical figures. In this particular case, I have chosen a poem from the 15th- 16th century to prove the limitations that translators like Google Translate offer. We have to consider that languages evolve and this particular translator we are commenting on, was created in 2009 so the translation is going to be difficult. In the Basically the main mistakes made by the translator were:
Lack of translation of certain words. Probably the main reason to these mistakes was the “apostrophe”. In Spanish, “apostrophes” do not exist, so it is probable that MT is not able to recognize the words in Spanish, so it is impossible to translate them. We are talking for instance about words like “dimm´d”, “untrimm´d”, “wander’st”. Word order. Long sentences tend to be translated in a wrong way. For example “And summer’s lease hath all too short a date” or “And every fair from fair sometime declines” which have been changed due to the leghtening of the sentences if we compare Spanish (long sentences) versus English (short sentences). In addition, we have to take in mind that the text translated is poetry so the work done by the translator is more difficult even.
Punctuation. This translator has not made many errors of punctuation. However, we can tell one which is meaningful. This is the case of the interrogative sign, which in English only appears one in opposition to Spanish which is used twice. For example, we have: “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Whichappears as “Voy a compararte con un día de verano? Lack of natural language. Although the text translated is a literary text, the tone and the lexicon used is not appropriate, especially the word order.
Theothertextwehavechosenis a journalistictext. Wehavedecidedtoselectthiskind of textto compare thetranslationgivenby Google Translateaccordingtothenature of texts. Thetextwehavechosenisanarticleentitled: fromthe magazine HELLO! written in Englishentitled: “PippaMiddletonunwindswithformerfriend in Madrid”. I havealsoprovidedthetranslatedtext and my ownversion:
FAILURES AND PROBLEMS Lack of agreement. In the text translated there is a problem with agreement, maybe due to the fact, that in English there are no visible marks which express agreement in gender and number except in the third person singular present. Even though, in third person singular the “s” does not indicate if we are talking about a woman or a man. We find many exampleslike “While her newly-married sister jetted off the to the Seychelles” translated as “Mientrasquesuhermanareciéncasados” o “the brunette beauty relaxed in the capital’s biggest park” translated as “la bellezamorenarelajado en el mayor parque de la ciudad”
Confusion between categories. The translator does not recognize words which can be used in two categories. For instance, verbs and nouns. That is the case of the word “party” in “she partied in one of the most exclusive nightclubs” translated as “ella fiesta en uno de los clubs nocturnes másexclusivos” False friends. The translator has not made a good translation of some words like the adjective “eligible”. In English, the sense of the adjective eligible is ”somebody wealthy”, “a good person to marry with” . However, “eligible” in Spanish means “somebody who can be chosen”.
Problems with the translations of compounds and adjectives. The translator does not make a good job when it has to translate compounds. For instance, “party planner” which means “somebody who loves parties” is translated as “el jugador”. Punctuation. In Spanish, “dashes” are only used when we want to reproduce a direct speech or a dialogue written. In English, they use a dash in the place of a “comma” so maybe the translator has not been able to reproduce it. For instance, “the capital’s biggest park”- the Retiro” translated as “el mayor parque de la capital- el Retiro”
Lack of certain words: The translator has not been able to translate some words like “peplum”. In addition, proper nouns like “The Penthouse” or “Fortuny” do not appear translated
Reverso Reversoisan online free translatorwhich can beonlyusedtotranslateshort texts. In thesamewebpagethereis a dictionary and a conjugationtool.
Thistranslatortool uses Reverso Intrenetwhich has beendevelopedbyPROjectMT and Softtisimo. The Reverso translatoris a veryusefultoolforinstance, to look forwordswhensomebodyreceivesan e-mail instead of usingdictionariesortoeliminatethebarriers of languagewhenwe are abroad
Howtotranslate a short text? In ordertotranslatewehavetofollowthreedifferentsteps. Firstly, wehaveto paste thetextonthetranslation box and thenwechoosethelanguage in whichwewanttotranslatethetext. Once wehavemadeourchoice, wepressthebutton “TRANSLATE” as wesee in thefollowingslide. Wewill use thesonnet 18 writtenby Shakespeare.
Wehavechosenthesametextswehaveworkedwithbefore, (anarticle and a poem) to compare thedifferenceswith Google Translator and Yahoo Babel Fish. Let’scheckthetranslationgiven of theSonnet 18:
FAILURES AND PROBLEMS Personal Pronouns: Contrary to Google translate which has been able to translate pronouns from other century, Reverso has not translated personal pronouns. For instance, “thee” which means “you” in modern English, and “thou” in the following sentences: “Shall I compare thee with a summer’s day?” and “Thou art more lovely and more temperate” translated as ¿Compararé thee hasta un día de verano? And “Thou arte másencantador”. Incorrect use of past subjunctive. This translator is not able to use the subjunctive in Spanish.In the poem there are several examples which show this problem, like for instance “So long as men can breathe or eyes can see” translated as “mientrasque los hombres puedanrespirar o los ojospuedanver”.
Lack of agreement subject- verb. Reverso is not able to translate in a coherent way structures in which agreement is present. For instance, “So long lives this and this gives life to thee” translated as “tan vidaslargasesto y estodan la vida a thee”. “Esto” is a third person singular pronoun in Spanish so it should be followed by a verb in third person singular, not plural. Problems with words which can be different categories. Again we find problems with words which act as several categories like for instance “shine” which means “to glow”. In this case “the eye of heaven shines” is translated as “el ojo de brillos de cielo”. We have to assume that shines referring to the verb “to shine”
FAILURES AND PROBLEMS Literal translation. The translator has used literal translation in some of the words as “date” which means “go out with somebody when you are in a relationship”. In Spanish, “datar” is accepted but now commonly used so it sounds a bit awkward in natural speech. Use of brackets. This translator uses brackets to explain the meaning of some words which are not very clear. For instance, “she was spotted” translated as “ellafuemanchada (descubierta) or “and there was not let-up for the party planner” as “y no habíaningunacalmapara el planificador de partido (parte).
Context of translation. The translator is not able to select the appropriate meaning of a certain word. It is necessary that a human brain participates in the process of translation, In this text, the word “flame” is used but not with the meaning of “llama” but with the definition of “boyfriend” or “lover”. In this text, the mistake is made in “Pippa Middleton unwinds with former flame in Madrid” as “Pippa Middleton se relaja en Madrid con sunuevonovio”
Confusing translations and change of meaning. This translator tends to change the meaning of sentences and the tone of the context of the text. For instance, in the sentence “after her starring role” where “starring” means something positive, “somebody who has been seen as an important figure” is translated as “estrellado” which means quite the opposite, that is to say, “somebody who is not lucky”.
Misinterpretations of common expressions. In all languages there are certain expressions which are constructed in a particular way depending on their origin. For example, in the this text, the expression “and she took to the water for a boat trip” which means that “somebody has sailed in a boat” has been translated as “y ellatomo el agua” which in Spanish means to “drink water”
YAHOO BABEL FISH Thistranslatorisan online languageresourcewhichallowstotranslate short texts (150 characters) and web pages. SYSTRAN isthetechnologycalsystemuponwhichYahoo Babel Fishisbuilt. Thelanguages of translation are forinstance: French, German, Italian, English, Japaneseetc
Weselectthelanguageswewanttoworkwith and thenwe paste thetext in the box. Thenwepressthebutton “translate”. Wewilltranslate and analysethesametextsthanbefore:
FAILURES AND PROBLEMS Lack of division into paragraphs. The translator makes its job as a block. The original text was divided into lines or small paragraphs butthe translated versions is translated together. Problems with the Saxon genitive. This translator is unable to translate the saxon genitive which is typical of English language in to Spanish. As a consequence, the text has not translated the following expression right: “some of the Spanish city’s nightlife”. Theresult has been “el capital parque más grande de s- el Retiro”.
Inappropriatetranslation of verbs. This translator has not done a good job because it has translated “she was spotted with a bottle of champagne in her bag” which mean that “she was observed or seen while she had a bottle in her bag as “ donde la mancharon con unabotella de champán” which means “to get dirty” False friends. The same as Google Translate and Reverso translator has not made a good translation of some words like the adjective “eligible”. In English, the sense of the adjective eligible is ”somebody wealthy”, “a good person to marry with” . However, “eligible” in Spanish means “somebody who can be chosen”.
Lack of translations of certain words. The translator does not work with certain words as “the next day” which should be translated as “el próximodía” o “flatmates” as “compañeros de piso”.
Although, I am not an expert in the field of translations I think the three translators I have mentioned before offer great advantages and disadvantages. Undoubtedly, each of the translators is an automatic linguistic tool so we assume that they will probably be imperfect. As we have seen in the examples of the review, all of them show a lot of mistakes which can only be improved by the human brain. The object of our analysis, that is Google Translate, makes a lot of mistakes because it does not apply grammatical rules and change words which seem to be equivalent but they have a different meaning.
IN CONCLUSION… Although, I am not an expert in the field of translations I think the three translators I have mentioned before offer great advantages and disadvantages. Undoubtedly, each of the translators is an automatic linguistic tool so we assume that they will probably be imperfect. As we have seen in the examples of the review, all of them show a lot of mistakes which can only be improved by the human brain. The object of our analysis, that is Google Translate, makes a lot of mistakes because it does not apply grammatical rules and change words which seem to be equivalent but they have a different meaning.
SOURCES Google Translate. (2011, May 20). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18:37,May 20, 2011 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Translate Magazine Hello. (2011, May 20). Retrieved 18:37,May 20, 2011 from http://www.hellomagazine.com/celebrities/201105165411/pippa-middleton-madrid-george-percy/1 ReversoTraductor Online. (2011, May 20). Retrieved 18:37,May 20, 2011 from http://www.reverso.net/text_translation.aspx?lang=ES Shakespeare Online. (2011, May 20). Retrieved 18:37, May 20, 2011 from http://www.shakespeare-online.com/sonnets/18.html Yahoo Babel Fish. (2011, May 20). In Wikipedia, The Free Enyclopedia. Retrieved 18:37,May 20, 2011 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yahoo!_Babel_Fish