Doing partial translations
Thread poster: Evelien Snel

Evelien Snel  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:22
Member (2010)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Jul 29, 2011

I want to translate materials intended for teaching languages. This is bilingual material: Explanations are in the student's mother tongue, lesson material is in the language to be learned. In some situations I will want to change the "source" language (the explanations) in other situations I will want to change the "target" language (the lesson material).
What would be a good way to handle such projects? What would be the preferred tool to use? (I am most used to WordFast Classic, but I could use WordFast Pro if it has clear advantages for the job at hand.)

Any tips would be welcome. I am calling for advice BEFORE I begin, to avoid finding out I have made an impractical choice whn I have already put too much effort in it to turn back.


[Edited at 2011-07-29 22:00 GMT]


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Luciano Drusetta
Italy
Local time: 08:22
Hungarian to Italian
+ ...
Use untranslatable attribute Jul 30, 2011

I am not sure I catch the point, but you can "paint" the portions of text that you do not want to translate with an "untranslatable" attribute (typically, "red marching ants" or "25% grey").

Perhaps if you give a couple of practical example, it would help.

Luciano


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Evelien Snel  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:22
Member (2010)
English to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Example and more explanation Jul 30, 2011

Thanks for your reply. I have found the settings you were talking about (the marching ants and the 25% gray) in the WordFast Classic settings. That may indeed be the mechanism to use... It is a lot more flexible than the system in WordFast Pro, where "all hidden text is untranslatable".

I have been thinking about the terminology I used in my opening post and I have come up with better ways to speak about my texts. Let's call the student's mother tongue the "subject" language and the language to be tought the "object" language.

An example with subject=en_us and object=de_de would be:

Today we will learn the verb "to be":
Ich bin
Du bist
Er ist
Wir sind
Ihr seid
Sie sind


I might want to change the subject language, e.g. subject=pt_br should give

Hoje aprendamos o verbo "estar":
Ich bin
Du bist
Er ist
Wir sind
Ihr seid
Sie sind


But I might also want to change the object language, e.g. object=fr_fr should give

Today we will learn the verb "to be":
Je suis
Tu es
Il est
Nous sommes
Vous êtes
Ils sont


A text would typically contain a complex mixture of little bits of subject language and object language. Which parts to translate would depend on the desired result. There are no parts that should never be translated, there are no parts that should always be translated.


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VEIKMANE DAIGA
Latvia
Latvian to English
+ ...
Bilinqual translation Jul 31, 2011

Use
google translate, choosing the language pairs, or
babelfish translator


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Evelien Snel  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:22
Member (2010)
English to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Using Google is not the solution to my problem Aug 8, 2011

Thanks for your reply Veikmane.

Of course my biggest problem is not the translation itself, but more the process around it and the way to format my documents and set up my project.

Using Google does have some advantage, as it passes text that is NOT in the source language to the output unchanged. However, if there happens to be a word that happens to have a meaning in the source language, it will be translated too.

To illustrate this, I have translated the subject language of my example into Japanese using Google:

今日は、"ように"動詞を学習します。

ICHビン
ドゥBIST
二イスト
WIRシンド
IHR SEID
SIEシンド

You don't need to know a lot of Japanese to see what is going on here: Some German words look like English words and Google does its best to translate them. The result is a bigger mess than I would be able to create by hand. But it was a fun experiment.

I also tried to translate the object language with Google. This time I got:

今日は、"ように"動詞を学習します。

私は午前
あなたがいる
彼は、
我々は
あなたがた
彼らは

It looks like when translating German to Japanese, Google simply understands all the English in the input text as well. Their input database is likely contaminated with a lot of language samples on the 'Web that CLAIM to be in German, but are English in reality.


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Evelien Snel  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:22
Member (2010)
English to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Highlight all text that is in a specific language Aug 9, 2011

OK, I have done some more research and I have come up with the following solution:

All text in MSWord has a language property. If you have made sure this is set correctly throughout your document, you can use it to protect all text that is in a specific language before you start translating.
If we return to my original example:

Today we will learn the verb "to be":

Ich bin
Du bist
Er ist
Wir sind
Ihr seid
Sie sind

I might want to translate only the "subject language". In that case I would use the following macro to protect the "object language" (in this case German):

Sub ProtectGerman()
'
' ProtectGerman Macro
'
'
Selection.MoveRight Unit:=wdCharacter, Count:=1, Extend:=wdExtend
If Selection.LanguageID = wdGerman Then
Selection.Range.HighlightColorIndex = wdGray25
End If
Selection.MoveRight Unit:=wdCharacter, Count:=1
End Sub

Position the cursor at the start of the document, press [Alt][F11] to get into the Visual Basic editor, then put your cursor anywhere in this macro. Then press and hold [F5] to have the cursor walk all the way through the document. This will highlight all the German text in 25% gray.

If, on the other hand, I wanted to translate only the "object language", I would use the following macro to protect the "subject language" (in this case English):

Sub ProtectEnglish()
'
' ProtectEnglish Macro
'
'
Selection.MoveRight Unit:=wdCharacter, Count:=1, Extend:=wdExtend
If Selection.LanguageID = wdEnglishUS Then
Selection.Range.HighlightColorIndex = wdGray25
End If
Selection.MoveRight Unit:=wdCharacter, Count:=1
End Sub

For a list of wdLanguage-codes to use for other languages, see
http://www.bettersolutions.com/word/WRV283/LE215851411.htm

Of course all this can be made more user-friendly, but my basic problem is now solved. I hope it may be useful to other readers as well...


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