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Google Hits As Confirmation or Reference
Thread poster: David Brown
David Brown  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:37
Spanish to English
Aug 23, 2004

Today, I answered a query on the word "exploting" (spanish/english). I was 100% certain it was a poor attempt at "espangles", but on Google I found over 3600 hits for this word (obviously all of them misspellings of either exploding, exploring and exploiting. Should this serve as a warning to new translators, especially those who do not translate into their native language?

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Selçuk Budak  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:37
English to Turkish
+ ...
Occurs in any language Aug 23, 2004

A recent example is a question posted to English-Turkish Kudoz.
"epiphysial arrest" which should be "Epiphyseal arrest" gets some hits (18 against 424, or when searched alone 3,300 against 31,000).

The rule of thumb I follow in such uncertain situations is to check for variations for both single terms as well as combined expressions. And I choose one that has the highest hit


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Kevin Fulton
United States
Local time: 07:37
German to English
Google is only a guide Aug 23, 2004

I frequently use "(source term)" + English to see if a bilingual site offers a suggestion for a term. In a good percentage of the instances, the English text is written (translated) by a non-native speaker of English who doesn't always use standard spelling, grammar, or even the proper terminology (sometimes you know intuitively if a term is probably right or wrong). I'm sure this is true of combinations involving languages other than English, as well. Sometimes, however, the terminology is spot-on, but the rest of the text is a linguistic disaster (in such cases I assume that an engineer did the translation).

I agree with David's assessment that new translators need to be cautious when relying on Google.

The NY Times had an article a while back on goods for sale on E-bay which received few or no bids because the sellers couldn't properly spell (or didn't check typos in) the names of the goods they were offering.

Kevin


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:37
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Google is not for preconceived notions Aug 23, 2004

Was it Heisenberg who said, if you ask matter a wave question, it will answer in terms of waves and if you ask it a particle question, it will answer in terms of particles. I.e., you will almost always find the thing you want confirmed, depending on the premise. Solutions like Kevin's that reduce the margin of error that may exist in the premise have to be sought.



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George Rabel  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:37
English to Spanish
+ ...
Totally agree. Google hits are just for reference, not for validation Aug 26, 2004

Kfulton wrote:

I frequently use "(source term)" + English to see if a bilingual site offers a suggestion for a term. In a good percentage of the instances, the English text is written (translated) by a non-native speaker of English who doesn't always use standard spelling, grammar, or even the proper terminology (sometimes you know intuitively if a term is probably right or wrong). I'm sure this is true of combinations involving languages other than English, as well. Sometimes, however, the terminology is spot-on, but the rest of the text is a linguistic disaster (in such cases I assume that an engineer did the translation).

I agree with David's assessment that new translators need to be cautious when relying on Google.

The NY Times had an article a while back on goods for sale on E-bay which received few or no bids because the sellers couldn't properly spell (or didn't check typos in) the names of the goods they were offering.

Kevin


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:37
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Google in Russian is the same Aug 26, 2004

There is a recent Russian form topic about this. For those who can read Russian, see http://www.proz.com/topic/24013

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xxxBAmary  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 07:37
English to Spanish
+ ...
Has to do with common sense Sep 5, 2004

There are many mistakes in Google, and I guess it's normal because many people writing on the web are not native speakers of the language, and many others, being native speakers, don't write well. Relying in Google as if it were some kind of Bible could lead to very serious mistakes. The translator's common sense is one of his/her best weapons.

P.S. I really liked Parrot's way of putting it.


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