Looking fore: automatic translation software
Thread poster: Tanja Kreutz

Tanja Kreutz  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:50
German to English
+ ...
Jan 15, 2003

I work as an employed translator for a company in the machine tool business.

Now I received a request from our service engineers working mainly abroad to look for translation software they can use on their notebooks to communicate e.g. with a Chinese customer.

I have already voiced my concern regarding the translation quality provided by these programs.

I fear that they hope that such programs could translate the tech slang service engineers use.

Nevertheless, I promised them to find out whether there are any useful programs on the market even if they cannot handle technical terms.

It might help them to check into their hotel, after all...



So, any suggestions would be appreciated.



Tanja


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JCEC  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 21:50
Member
English to French
Forget it ! Jan 15, 2003

Dear Tanja,



I\'m a consultant in machine translation and have designed several systems, one of which has become world-famous and has been used by the Canadian government for over twenty-five years.



My advice is: Don\'t even think about it !



In the present state of the art, machine translation can lead to inadvertently insulting communications and mistranslations which can be very dangerous in a technical field. The problem is magnified when dealing with languages as far apart as German and Chinese.



Sorry for being such a party pooper,



John



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Steffen Pollex  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:50
English to German
+ ...
Right! Jan 15, 2003

I face this problem mainly in the GER-RUS or ENG-RUS pair, while there are programs that deal fairly well with ENG-GER.



And if it\'s technical stuff I couldn\'t agree more with John. Relying only on maqchine translation may lead to fatal errors and misinterpretations.The more, I think, in the East-Asian langages that have so many of the slightest nuances.



Hire a Human translator. He may be more expensive at first sight, but may be able to save you a hell of a lot subsequently. At least, you may ask him immediately in case you don\'t understand what he translated. Anyway, you will also have to attract a human translator in case you can\'t figure out a machine translation (which will so morre often than it will not). So why then use machine translation so heavily?





On 2003-01-15 15:51, JCEC wrote:

Dear Tanja,



I\'m a consultant in machine translation and have designed several systems, one of which has become world-famous and has been used by the Canadian government for over twenty-five years.



My advice is: Don\'t even think about it !



In the present state of the art, machine translation can lead to inadvertently insulting communications and mistranslations which can be very dangerous in a technical field. The problem is magnified when dealing with languages as far apart as German and Chinese.



Sorry for being such a party pooper,



John



[/quote]


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Spiros Doikas  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:50
Member (2002)
English to Greek
+ ...
Use the on-line systems to get an idea... Jan 15, 2003

of how useless machine translation is when you need high quality translation. There is no such thing as fully automatic high quality machine translation and I don\'t thing it will be in the foreseeable future. The amount of post-editing required in all cases of existing systems would far outweigh any benefits you may perceive. (An exception would systems which quite restricted sublanguages like the weather reports handled by Meteo.)



Here is a list with most on-line MT systems :

http://www.translatum.gr/dics/mt.htm



When I finished my MSc on Machine Translation the only thing I felt passionate about was Computer Aided Translation, Translators\' Aids and the use of parallel bilingual corpora - you know the usual translation memory stuff!


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Tanja Kreutz  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:50
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Comment Jan 16, 2003

I thank you all for your replies.



Our service technicians are looking for a German to English translation software. I\'m sorry, I didn\'t mention that.

Yesterday our IT department called me asking me what I thought about Personal Translator PT 2002. They were amazed that being a translator myself I didn\'t even know the program. I briefly explained why I think these programs are useless, but still our service people insist that they still want it.

I think this is just going to be a waste of money. However, the costs involved will probably be less than those for an interpreter, because we have service people going abroad every day which makes it impossible to provide an interpreter on each occasion.

Maybe it would make more sense to send these people to special training courses in technical English and buy them a dictionary like the Ernst on CD-ROM. Together with our own Trados glossary this should be more of a help to them.



The suggested program Personal Translator is supposed to be one of the better ones on the market (?). But I read some shattering reviews, too.



Why do people have a tendency to think that the human translator could easily be replaced by a machine or software. They have no idea what our profession is about and we have to keep justifying our existence...



Tanja


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cillegio
Local time: 06:50
Azerbaijani to Russian
+ ...
Promt XT Jan 17, 2003

I use this program, expecially when being asked to produce a very quick review translation for web-site or technical documents.

It is not very good, but it is cheap, so you could try.


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