Did you know that you can now translate foreign language articles in your Google Reader?
Google Translate is a great tool if you want to have an idea of what an article is about. You can subscribe to the feed in another language and check off “Translate into my language” (Feed Settings). When you are ready to read, the feed will already be translated.
The source (original) text is copied and pasted in the appropriate box and clicking the Submit button will render the translation in the language of your choice. This type of translation is called a machine translation because it is performed entirely by a computer. It is a handy tool to get a quick translation and a general idea of what the article or website is about, giving you endless possibilities to enrich your knowledge.
However, beware of such translations. You may encounter translations that don’t make much sense, depending on the topic or vocabulary. Following are some examples.
I have enclosed our statement for our work on the project – Source text
He cerrado nuestra declaración de nuestro trabajo en el proyecto – Spanish translation
Back translation: I have closed our statement for our work on the project.
This happens because a computer cannot distinguish between words that look alike but have a different meaning. A machine does not understand context or tone of the information it is fed. For this, human intervention is needed and this is where translators come in.
We have billed this matter on a discounted basis – Source text
Wij hebben gefactureerd deze kwestie op een contante waarde – Dutch translation
Correct: Wij hebben deze zaak gefactureerd uitgaande van een reductie.
It is therefore not recommended to use the results of machine translations for business purposes, unless the translation is reviewed and edited by a translator. Most translators however, prefer to start from scratch, because machine translations can be very awkward.
Besides the various free tools on the internet, there are many translation software programs on the market, ranging from $50 to $900 or more, used by businesses and professional translators.
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