Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Basic translation tools

Google Translator: good or not? I have come across some very clever translations on the internet: some companies have obviously copied the texts from their webpages, pasted them into google translator and then happily left it as it is. Is this tool provided by Google a good option then? Let´s check it out, using two very different languages.


Sentence in English: my name is zsuzsi and right now I'm planning what to do during my holiday in Finland.


Google Finnish: nimeni on zsuzsi ja olen nyt suunnittelu, mitä tehdä, minun loma Suomessa (my name is zsuzsi and I am now a planning, what to do, my holiday in Finland)

Correct version: nimeni on Zsuzsi ja tällä hetkellä suunnittelen mitä aion tehdä lomani aikana/lomallani Suomessa

Comments: the google translation is not very bad, but it clearly isn't fluent Finnish. Firstly, in this context the word planning is a normal verb, suunnittelu in Finnish is a noun, the verb is suunnitella (I plan -> minä suunnittelen). The word during has been completely left out, and the word "loma" (=holiday) lacks the ending -ni (lomani = my holiday) which would come naturally to a Finnish speaker, albeit it isn't necessary. This ending denotes that it is "my holiday". and the word my -> minun could be left out. Besides, with the word "during" (aikana) the word "loma" would change anyway -> minun loman(i) aikana. Furthermore, in order to simplify life and reduce the number of words, the adessive case could also be used: "lomallani" -> on my holiday, during my holiday.


Google Swedish: Mitt namn är zsuzsi och nu Jag planerar vad de ska göra under min semester i Finland  (my name is zsuzsi and now I plan what they are going to do during my holiday in Finland)

Correct swedish: mitt namn är zsuzsi och just nu planerar jag vad jag ska göra under min semester i Finland.

Comments: all the words except one have been translated correctly, but the word order is completely wrong. In certain cases, Swedish (unlike English) adheres to verb+subject, instead of the other way around. The word "de" means "they", not "I".


Conclusion: it all depends on the language. Google tends to get the words right, so if the language pair consists of two languages that are very similar, there should be no problem. As soon as there are some gramamtical twists, the translation loses much of its worth. I would therefore only recommend this tool to people who know both languages so that they can correct any errors.


1 comment:

Sebastián Moncho said...

But it's very funny to read wrong translations!!! :D