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Google hits = quality?
Thread poster: cotasur
cotasur
Chile
Local time: 17:25
Spanish to English
+ ...
Mar 29, 2003

What is your experience?



Does a high number of \"Google hits\" mean that the word (or term) you are searching for is correct or the best possible choice?



I am simply curious.



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Clarisa Moraña  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 17:25
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not necessaryly! Mar 30, 2003

For instance,



See the results of searching the term \"necessaryly\" with Google:



La Web Imágenes Grupos Directorio

Se buscó necessaryly en la Web. Resultados 1 - 10 de aproximadamente 470. La búsqueda tardó 0.10 segundos



No comments!

Regards,



Clarisa Moraña


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William Stein  Identity Verified
Costa Rica
Local time: 14:25
French to English
+ ...
Google's tricky but has a lot of potential. Mar 30, 2003

The correct spelling of \"not necessarily\" has over 5,500,000, so in this case quantity does indicate quality.

There are several limitations though:

1) Google can show that an expression is commonly used, but it cannot show that common usage is good from a stylistic point of view

2) Sometimes askers request a literary expression that purposefully uses unusual language (e.g., He was outrageously normal). In this case, there is no point in proving that \"very normal\" is more commonly used than \"outrageously normal\", since the author is trying to avoid a cliché.

3) Google does not guarantee that the translation is correct. For example, if the asker wants to know how to translate \"Thanksgiving\", it doesn\'t help much if somebody answers: 9 billion Google hits for \"remercier\"!

That said, I think giving google references is a big step up from pompously citing one\'s own expertise or saying \"That\'s how you say it!\" At the very least, it provides askers with links they can look up to help them decide form themselves.

This list is not exhaustive (and hopefully not exhausting), and I\'d be interested in hearing what other people think about it.

[ This Message was edited by: WMStein on 2003-03-30 06:02]


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GILOU  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:25
Member (2002)
English to French
Google Mar 30, 2003

Google is useful but not trustworthy. If you type a term with any typo, you will have some hits so it\'s up to you to to separate the wheat from the chaff....

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Amy Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:25
Italian to English
+ ...
exactly. Mar 30, 2003

Remember that Google covers millions of personal web pages and a huge amount of unedited and just plain inaccurate material.



My favourite is 30,600 hits for \"embarass\"..



..not forgetting 96,200 for \"accomadation\" - yikes!



Having said that, it\'s a great resource. the key is - as Gilles writes - to be able to hone your research skills to avoid badly translated pages and other poor-quality material.



Regards,

A


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:25
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
More useful for multi-word terms Mar 30, 2003

You may get a large number of hits for a particular word without being able to confirm that it is the right word for the context.

For some e.g. engineering term consisting of e.g. three words, if you type in what you think it is and get no hits in that exact combination, you are almost certainly wrong.

The source of hits is also important. If you type in such a term for a translation e.g. from Russian, and get several hits but they are all from sources in Russia, the translation cannnot be relied on.


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Sara Freitas
France
Local time: 21:25
French to English
Good for confirming hunches... Mar 30, 2003

I often use Google to confirm a hunch I have about a multi-word term as it might be used in a particular industry...then you have to analyze the KIND of sites you get hits on...if I am dealing with a marketing term and I get hits on marketing related sites or areas of large companies\' sites touting new products or services, I find that reliable confirmation.



One thing that is a little annoying is when people indiscriminately copy and paste random unrelated Google hits as justification to their Kudoz answers...that really doesn\'t help the asker!!







Regards,

Sara
[addsig]


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xxxtazdog
Spain
Local time: 21:25
Spanish to English
+ ...
potential and pitfalls Mar 30, 2003

I agree with the above comments, in that Google can be a great tool IF used properly; I use it myself for the same reasons that others have pointed out and find it extremely helpful. However, from what I have seen in the SpanishEnglish Kudoz questions, some translators seem to think that everything posted on the Internet and found on Google should be taken as gospel, while others persistently post a full page or more of Google search results as justification for their answer (particularly ludicrous when the answer is something like \"basement,\" and the first 25 Google hits for \"basement\" are posted!). As Sara said, such indiscriminate use of Google does no one any good, and is extremely irritating to boot (I personally hate having to keep scrolling down to reach the bottom of a page for a question because 2 or 3 people have taken up vast amounts of space with fairly useless information).



My two cents.


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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 14:25
Spanish to English
+ ...
A useful tool when used appropriately Mar 30, 2003

Here is one example of how a number of positive hits for a term or phrase can be used to find evidence that it is wrong. Let\'s say that you are having a problem with a particular word or phrase, and you come up with a term or phrase in the target language but it seems suspect to you. You search for it using Google, and the top hits are all from sites that are from countries different from those where the target language is spoken, that have been translated into that language from the native language of the country. This would add evidence to your suspicion that native speakers do not employ this term or phrase. The evidence is even stronger if you see other mistakes in language use on the page.



For example, in Spanish>English translation, if I am considering a particular English phrase or word, and I see that all the top hits are from pages in Latin American countries and/or Spain, it adds to my suspicion that the term is in Spanglish. On the other hand, if the top hits are from English-speaking countries, and the word is used in English-language text that is native-quality and well-written, it corroborates the correctness of the term.



Google is merely a search engine tool. The real resource that we are using when we employ it is the Internet corpus. This is a vast record of language as it is used in real life, including mistakes and typographical errors. Judicious use of this corpus can tell us an incredible amount about how language is used. It tells us much more information than simply how many times a word or phrase has been used. The above is one example.

[ This Message was edited by: GoodWords on 2003-03-30 17:03]


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OlafK
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:25
English to German
+ ...
Another question: Mar 31, 2003

Is there anybody out there who doesn\'t use Google or any other search engine in their research? I think it\'s an incredibly helpful tool. How did translators cope before the arrival of the Internet?

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Gilbert Ashley
English to Spanish
+ ...
Google just as accurate as ProZ glossaries? Mar 31, 2003

It irks me when certain members make disparaging remarks about the use of Google to verify the meaning and usage of terms. I think it can be quite helpful, if used with discretion and judgement. It\'s probably at least as accurate as the ProZ glossaries! Hundreds of times I have seen an utterly inaccurate translation picked, points awarded and the term entered in the glossaries. Heaven help those who trust them too much! Of course, it should come as no surprise since the very person who had needed help is the the one who decides.

Sometimes the entered terms are funny, but at times tragically so, when you think of the end user!


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Katherine Zei  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 15:25
Italian to English
+ ...
Wheat, chaff Apr 1, 2003

It\'s good to use Google indicatively, but you really have to use your brain. Just because someone else has written something doesn\'t mean it\'s right.



Google is like a vox populi and can substantiate things you\'re not sure of. But I agree with GoodWords in that often, Google brings up Italglish words that have been mis-translated and then widely propagated through injudicious word use.



If you\'re not sure about a word, and you find that it\'s being used in a certain way only by translations in certain country (not the mother-tongue country), then it\'s probably wrong.



i.e.:

I found a financial term (in English) that sounded wrong to me while translating from Italian to English. I looked the term up on Google, and found a slew of hits, but all on the English version of Italian bank sites. Only Italian bank sites. Not a single Anglo-American bank used this term, which lead me to doubt its accuracy. After sleuthing around a bit, I discovered that it wasn\'t even a word in English.



Bad habits are harder to break than good ones; so is improper word use harder to desist than proper word use.


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:25
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Google = vox populi? Apr 1, 2003

If Google is vox populi, here is an appropriate quotation on the subject:



Nec audiendi sunt qui solent docere, ‘Vox populi, vox Dei’; cum tumultuositas vulgi semper insaniae proxima est.



Nor should we listen to those who say ‘The voice of the people is the voice of God’, for the turbulence of the mob is always close to insanity.



[Alcuin, 735-804 AD, Epistolae, 166. §9]



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Linda Young
Local time: 21:25
French to English
+ ...
Canadian google hits Apr 4, 2003

I have found when using Google, especiallyl for legal terms, if the site is connected to Canada it is almost 80% reliable.

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Horst2  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:25
English to German
+ ...
no risk from typos-happens to me, too Apr 10, 2003

I use Google in my job and often find typos. Mostly when I misspell myself and instead of \"no hits\" comes a number of documents anyway.

Even if a typo happens, the contents of an article can be accurate and exactly what I need. Typos as such make me smile sometimes, but not more.

On the other hand, I seldom found obvious wrong information in documents i searched.

So I think the part of documents that are simply bad or wrong and of such that are intensionally wrong is not nearly relevant.

as always, you have to know what you do.

Horst2


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