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Translation Tips and Tricks
Translation tips & tricks
There are lots of free translation services on the net, but they all have a major problem. The translations are carried out by machine, not humans, and whilst they are very clever programmes, they are flawed. If you don't believe me, use one to translate a piece of well-written English into your own language, it can be a lot of fun. Machines just cannot give you the accuracy a professional human translator will deliver.
If you still don't believe me, take a short piece of text and go to Bad Translator. Cut and paste it, choose 18 times translation.
"Translations are carried out by machine, not humans, and whilst they are very clever programmes, they are flawed."
I ended up with this:-
"Turn on the computer, and we're not with someone, even if you have a lot of wisdom. Wise, sin."
But, you can take steps to make your machine translations as accurate as possible, therefore reaping the benefits of this valuable technology. By following these tips you should be able to produce consistent and intelligible results.
Remember that machine translation is a computer process that prefers common words and phrases
Start with simple, clear and formal sentences and phrases
Keep sentences short, limiting them to 15-20 words for best results
If a sentence contains multiple ideas/thoughts, break them into one sentence per idea/thought
Avoid unnecessarily complex words and sentences
Write clearly and formally
Word your documents in such a way as to avoid idioms, clichés, colloquial expressions and slang
Consider the literal meaning of words and try to express this instead
Try not to use words that have more than one meaning for example:
- Use "movie" instead of "film"
- Use "painting" or "photograph" instead of "picture"
Words ending in "ing" can sometimes be ambiguous, such as "rowing", which can be a noun or a verb. Where possible, choose an alternative
Always check spelling and grammar
Incorrect spelling or grammar leads to translation errors, for example, if a word is spelt incorrectly, the translator will not be able to identify the word.
Include appropriate accents
Always use the correct accent marks in your text.
Be aware of Punctuation Pitfalls
Avoid the use of complicated punctuation marks such as parentheses and hyphens .
Avoid abbreviations or if you need to use them, keep them consistent .
Use articles in front of listed items, for example:
- Instead of: the judge and jury
- Use: the judge and the jury
Do not leave words out
Some words can be implied in everyday use, such as "that, which, who," etc. and are often omitted when writing text - try not to do this as they may be required in the target language.
The free translation service provided by WorldLingo is the only one I found that translated the simple sentence "Hello, my name is Lynne." correctly.