fact is that machine translations are far from perfect.'
is a machine translator? A machine translator is a computer program
that allows you to write a word, sentence or paragraph (or even
a longer text). Then you press a few buttons telling the machine
which language you would like to translate to and from. The text
appears in the new language. (At the bottom of this article you
can see a few addresses where you can try out free machine translators.)
Have you ever
used a machine translation? How useful was it? Look at these translations
from French. They started out in good French, but when they were
translated into English the meaning became quite strange!
Je suis allé prendre le train
English: I went capture any
'Capture a train'
? That is quite a crazy sentence in English.
Publiez l'influence et commencez la
seconde par une presse sur S1 au temps de l'appropriate.
the hold and start the second by one press on S1 at the appropriate
It is not easy to work out the meaning of this instruction, but
it is possible, when it is translated into English by a machine
Look at these
translations from English to Korean and back again.
the cake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees.
350 degrees 35 minutes hazard cake hoof ten:00 bedspreads.
I don't know
where it went wrong. I don't read Korean, so I don't know if the
Korean translation is reasonably accurate. I do know that the meaning
has become quite distorted when the Korean is translated back into
Does this mean
that machine translators are useless? Researchers have been looking
for ways to make machine translations work, but many have given
up. In 1995 Siemens gave up work on their METAL machine translation
project after more than 30 years of development. The fact is that
machine translations are far from perfect. To translate from one
language to another you need a good knowledge of grammar and vocabulary,
but you also need to understand culture and nuance. Machines will
probably never achieve this. We will never have a perfect machine
translator. Good translation requires humans with good knowledge
of both languages and cultures.
translations are generally useful in helping you to understand the
gist of something in a language that you are not very familiar with.
They do have a role to play. The trick is not to expect perfection.
A machine will give you a rough translation. Sometimes it will be
wrong. Sometimes it will be funny, but usually it will give you
a good idea of what the original text says!
If you've never used one have a look at these websites to see if
you can find one for your language.
(this is a list of free translators in many languages)