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celador May 07, 2007 05:40 PM

Translator link
One thing you might consider linking from resources (or better still a button at the top that opens into a new tab) is a good translator. If you have any input into the translator sites, it would be nice if you didn't have to scroll and find the language pair every time you change from Spanish/English to English Spanish. It needs some presets, or even a translator with BOTH input windows. I use Altavista,

or this is a pretty good one:

Or am I the only one who needs to go back and forth both directions?

Tomisimo May 07, 2007 10:06 PM

A translator is a good suggestion, but there are many, many problems with machine translation. If you're relying on altavista, google or any of the other 'translators', there are sure to be many (serious) problems with the translation.

You're not the first person to suggest this-- My brother in law even suggested I create some kind of translator program-- but since there are so many problems with machine translation, I'm hesitant to move on it.

I've mulled over the idea of trying to create a better translation machine, and although I have lots of ideas for one, it would be quite a large undertaking.

celador May 07, 2007 11:01 PM

Well, if you made a translator as good as this Tomisimo database it would be a good one. So I hope you will.

I was happy to find this site because being able to search a word or partial spelling, from either language (without being hassled over accents) was a brilliant idea.

True enough the translators have serious problems sometimes, but by going back and forth and tweaking the phrases in both languages, I was usually able to get it to say the same thing going from one back to the other eventually. Using the Tomisimo thesaurus made it so i could pick a word that seemed to be the best usage. It is an exhaustive process sometimes, but probably no better experience for learning grammar and vocabulary.

But that was the reason I joined your forum. Because you have to have some quality input on what might be more idiomatically correct. There are things/meanings etc. that just will not translate literally. But it seems to me that unless you understand the literal translations even of some of the idiomatic phrases, you'll never really understand how they derive.

Maybe what we need is a Phrase Tomisimo too. lol

Translators are pretty good at gleaning the meaning of a foreign phrase (usually) but they really suck at composition or trying to structure your sentence in a language you don't know very well. The poem i posted,
"Sorry I Looked" was translated from English and then worked back and forth into what I posted. Gave it my best uneducated guess.

This is the very reason I am interested in some native (or more knowledgeable) input.

Felipe May 08, 2007 01:26 PM

The problem with a machine translation is that it can't reason. It's not very good with idomatic expressions and will often translate your sentence word for word, leading to an unnatural and often incorrect translation. I think only a human can really choose the best words for a translation.

WMX May 11, 2007 01:22 PM

Google should make a translator since they have the whole internet on their servers.

bleak-uk May 12, 2007 01:12 PM

There are a lot of online translators around now, and the truth is that none of them will work all the time. Even big internet services like AltaVista and Google can't make a translator that could possibly compete with a bilingual human, so it's not really worth trying to do. Some things don't translate literally, and some words have multiple meanings, so there'll always be problems with such translators. They're normally ok if you're translating into a language you're confident with because you can tweak things to make sense and so get the general idea of the original text, but if you're hoping to translate into a language you don't understand, especially on a professional level, you really do need a person.

Besides, there's nothing wrong with the good old dictionary on the bookshelf. All good dictionaries will give an example context so you know you're choosing the right word, therefore if your grammar's up to scratch and you watch what you're doing with metaphors and proverbs and the like, you're ok.

On the same topic, check this out:

It may provide some amusement, at the same time as understanding of the problems with electronic translators. :)

celador May 12, 2007 11:34 PM

But you know what, this Babelizer idea is exactly what they should do with those translators. Seriously. Put into the foreign phrase and back to the original in one pass, automatically. Then the tweaking you speak of becomes very effective. Change a few words around in the origingal, then edit the translation. I'm sure I don't get it right all the time, but I am learning how to structure the grammar better.

This is exactly how I use AltaVista. I have two windows open and I post them back and forth until I can get something similar going both ways.
Mostly it involves putting words into the English and taking them out of the Spanish. Then some minor rearranging of misplaced modifiers usually.

Like you say also, Bleak, you still need the Tomisimo thesaurus to get the right word when there is multiple meanings but the tweaking and chosing the right words takes place in both languages.

Por supuesto, Todavía estoy buscando la señorita bonita , quién permanecerá conmigo, y tómeme por la mano, a siempre leer y decir todo a mí que no entiendo. ¿esto estaría mucho mejor, no?

celador May 12, 2007 11:41 PM

Oh and one more thing to tweak this technique is that you must put into the translator in very small phrases. The longer your sentence is the more likely the translator will scramble it into unrecognizable gobbledygook.

What I do is break the text up with semi-colon into short phrases that the translator can handle. Then when I get it working punctuate the finished sentence the best I can.

bleak-uk May 13, 2007 05:19 AM

Yeah that's a sensible idea. It's similar to what I do if I don't have a dictionary handy. If you translate into Spanish, and then when you translate back to English it doesn't make sense you know you've gone wrong somewhere. Personally I prefer a standard dictionary, but I guess you just do whatever works for you really. Each to their own.

Y si celador, todo el mundo quisiera esa señorita bonita, pero desafortunadamente estaramos probablemente buscando durante mucho tiempo.

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