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Dr-David-Banner

Google Translate

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Dr-David-Banner

The other day I cheated and used Google Translate to quickly put an English quote into Russian. I told the forum members I'd used GT just for the quote to save time. It takes me a while to word my actual posts so just the once I opted for saved time.
I was very surprised. The translation on GT came out in clear Russian. The rules on that site are that Russian is the forum language so, please, no foreign quotes.
Here's the point though: Are translators facing extinction? I wonder how many companies just bypass translators and rattle stuff off on GT?
Yet another point: When I studied Russian we had no Windows. The department got e-mail around 1995 and amazingly satellite TV was considered "cutting edge technology". It was used with VCR. So, we students were given English to Russian classes and all we had was the library dictionaries. I recall using them - about 3 volumes.
What about students today? I wonder how many use GT? It would take 5 mins to do your homework! Let's face it the tutors would have no control, apart from class tests.
I admit I do use IT to polish my Russian. I can type sentences but then process for mistakes. I can reference grammar rules very fast. I am honest though. On the site is a teacher of Russian for foreigners and her son is on the spectrum. That makes me just another student - most will be either Chinese, Indian or from the Middle East or Korea.

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Nesf

Even if you use Google Translate to translate texts, you will still need someone to proof read the text. Google Translate may be able to translate word for word, but it is still limited in the vocabulary, idioms and expressions, and quirks of grammar it knows and can translate... which means that you still need a native speaker with considerable knowledge to be able to translate those expressions. Google Translate is good and has got better in recent years, but it still can't replace a person.

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HalfFull

I doubt Google Translate can ever be a total solution. Its open to all sorts of strange interpretations. I've tested it out in the past by finding something accurate in French, and trying to get that translated, and it can produce a weird translation. It may very well have improved since then but I think that rather than a person not fluent in the foreign language trusting it, a translator would still be used but the translator may themselves use Google Translate and then proofread the translation, thus they may be able to take on more work. That said, if I was paying someone to do a translation for me, I'm not sure how happy I'd be for them to use Google Translate. Then again, is it cheating or is it actually a good idea? 

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Dr-David-Banner

Here from English to Russian on GT:
"Если мне удастся сдать экзамены, я поеду в Цюрихскую политехникуму. Я останусь там четыре года, чтобы изучать математику и физику."
I'm not a native speaker but this reads fine to me. Of course my own translation would have come out differently, less literal. Here the case endings are fine.
Back in 1989 all we had was dictionaries.

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Dr-David-Banner

My Russian is far from perfect so I tend to check and process a lot. As an example I wasn't sure of GT's first constructed setence so I typed into Russia's Yandex and got:
"Now you'll be lucky if I can
convince the Council to spare your life.Теперь тебе повезёт, если мне удастся убедить Совет сохранить тебе жизнь
So GT comes out fine and the "if" future tense in Russian is OK. I ought to be surer on grammar but it's so easy to do checks online..

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Nesf
17 hours ago, HalfFull said:

That said, if I was paying someone to do a translation for me, I'm not sure how happy I'd be for them to use Google Translate. Then again, is it cheating or is it actually a good idea?

Yes - Google translate is fine for forums, websites, etc, but if you are an author and need to publish your work in another language, then you will likely want a good, professional job done on it and you would be ill advised to use Google Translate - it would sound stilted and unprofessional.

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Dr-David-Banner

But that leaves only a very specialist field of translation. So far as company messages or advertisements it seems GT must have put countless linguists out of work. The other question is to what degree students would be tempted to cheat. Let's face it, the student who wants to go out and party Friday night and can save hours of time doing translation homework on GT. I recall when I was a student, scores of us were in it for the easy ride of not working and many of us didn't attend all the classes. The ones I did recall were the English to Russian class where we'd get a big text and be asked, "How would you say such and such in Russian?". We only had your typical Oxford dictionary.
I also wonder if the Russian site members suspect I may be a secret "Google translate fraudster". It is true I do check my sentences a lot as I use my posts also as a sort of translation exercise. Still I do make my own structures first and then check online with search engines.

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Nesf
45 minutes ago, Dr-David-Banner said:

I also wonder if the Russian site members suspect I may be a secret "Google translate fraudster".

You're only a fraudster if you are claiming something that isn't true - so if you have told them that you are writing them entirely on your own without any help, then yes, you are a fraudster. Otherwise, I think it's reasonable and perfectly legitimate to want to check your work for accuracy.

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Miss Chief

Google Translate doesn't do a good job on Welsh language... it tends to do a direct translation which is almost always wrong in Welsh, for example in English you would say where are you from but in Welsh you would say from where do you come GT tends to get this kind of thing wrong. I suspect it is in large part because GT relied on translators/bilinguals to get involved and check/correct that kind of thing and there aren't many Welsh people doing it but I would imagine there are loads of Russian speakers contributing.

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Dr-David-Banner

This is correct. I found Latin has nothing like the research you get with Russian. Like Welsh it may have less technical research. Russia has a massive IT network (even RT) so the resources are huge for language. Not that Russian is going to "catch on". It's still a minority language and I see Spanish as more trendy. Probably GT would do poorly with Latin. In fact I was stunned how far behind Latin is. Hardly any examples of verb use - just a basic translation. Someone might make the point it pretty much died long ago.

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Dr-David-Banner

Something up with North Korean English. Such as:
"Trump betrayed his true colors as an old lunatic, mean trickster and human reject during his one night and two days stay in South Korea,”
You wouldn't really ever call anyone a "mean trickster". "Human reject" is grammatical but just not authentic. Even worse, the North Koreans tend to exaggerate English language using expressions like, "rain down woe, misery and wretched misfortune".

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Miss Chief

See now I am confused... Google Translate literally translates what you ask it to... first of all surely you told it what to translate so how did it get it wrong? Secondly do you speak N. Korean to understand how it translated it or did you translate it and then translate it back the other way? Also I think 'mean trickster' is fine... mostly tricksters are clever and fun although they can also have a cruel streak but this is almost always for a reason i.e. to teach a lesson, so to clarify that you mean an unpleasant kind of trickster... mean trickster is fine. To be honest I have more of an issue with 'old lunatic' I think there should be a comma between them, I don't think they mean he has been a lunatic for a long time, why would you specify that.

However, given barely anyone in N. Korea has access to GT I doubt there are many people contributing to the translations on GT. Is N. Korean really that different to S. Korean? Presumably there was just Korean prior to the country splitting?

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Dr-David-Banner

My fault for being typically prone to drifting off. Those were quotes from NK statements in the news. Not translated. Just how the Koreans learn English.
My point was a different one to address differences between real language and old fashioned school text style.
Having said that I bet my Russian sounds artificial too as I don't learn it through socialising. A bit like:
------------------------------------------
I requested of the dame as to whether she were clad in a warm coat.

As opposed to real English:

I asked the lady if she had a warm coat on.

Edited by Dr-David-Banner

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HalfFull

In terms of translations for University, I did a languages degree and French or German to English translations were only ever done under exam conditions. We did have to type up certain assignments in French or German but we got marked down for poor grammar, and I think GT whilst possibly fine for correct meaning itself would probably be dreadful for grammar purposes and may even get tenses confused etc.

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Nesf
2 hours ago, Miss Chief said:

To be honest I have more of an issue with 'old lunatic' I think there should be a comma between them, I don't think they mean he has been a lunatic for a long time, why would you specify that.

I don't think that it needs a comma, it sounds ok - 'lunatic' is a noun in this case, and 'old' is the adjective that describes it, so no comma needed. By old, I think it means that he is old in age rather than having been a lunatic for a long time.

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Miss Chief
50 minutes ago, Nesf said:

I don't think that it needs a comma, it sounds ok - 'lunatic' is a noun in this case, and 'old' is the adjective that describes it, so no comma needed. By old, I think it means that he is old in age rather than having been a lunatic for a long time.

I agree with what you're saying that it is saying he is old as in age and a lunatic... that is why I think there should be a comma, without the comma it is saying he has been a lunatic for a long time.

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Dr-David-Banner

EFL is the most well paid teaching (bar Japan) in South Korea. It's a shame North Koreans have to rely on far less direct teaching.
Consider:
"US senator Shoshanna Weismann condemned as vile and disgusting she-harpy."
WTF is a "she-harpy"?
This was the topic of jokes as it was pointed out harpies are female anyway. So it was asked if you could have trans-harpies?
They need to learn better insults. "Human reject" is poor. Much better "a total tosser".
Reminds me years ago when some Russians asked if we were having a "jolly time".

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Nesf
2 hours ago, Miss Chief said:

I agree with what you're saying that it is saying he is old as in age and a lunatic... that is why I think there should be a comma, without the comma it is saying he has been a lunatic for a long time.

I'm confused, I don't understand what you mean. Where are you saying that the comma should go? Could you please write the sentence how you think it should be?

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Dr-David-Banner

Old is sometimes used to mean "outright". Not literally. Such as, "He's an old misery guts."

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Miss Chief
21 hours ago, Nesf said:

I'm confused, I don't understand what you mean. Where are you saying that the comma should go? Could you please write the sentence how you think it should be?

I think there should be one after the word old so "...old, lunatic..." that way it means he is an old person who is also a lunatic, without the comma it means he has been a lunatic for a long time.

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Nesf
1 hour ago, Miss Chief said:

I think there should be one after the word old so "...old, lunatic..." that way it means he is an old person who is also a lunatic, without the comma it means he has been a lunatic for a long time.

I see, thanks for clarifying. In that case, lunatic would be an adjective to describe 'trickster', and not a noun. I still think that 'old lunatic' without the comma sounds ok, if you take 'old' to mean old in age, which is my interpretation of it.

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Miss Chief
5 minutes ago, Nesf said:

In that case, lunatic would be an adjective to describe 'trickster', and not a noun.

It wouldn't because there is a comma there too, the comma separates the words... without it the following bold words in the original sentence are adverbs: 

"Trump betrayed his true colors as an old lunatic, mean trickster and human reject during his one night and two days stay in South Korea,”

If they are not intended to be adverbs (which I think the word 'mean' is meant to be but the word old is not meant to be) then it should be written:

"Trump betrayed his true colors as an old, lunatic, mean trickster and human reject during his one night and two days stay in South Korea,”

The additional comma means that old is used as a verb in it's own right and not an adverb to modify the word 'lunatic'.

Anyway this isn't really important it was just an off hand comment, I think I have clarified my reasoning/thinking here for any who didn't get what I meant, but I'm going to drop it now cause I don't want this to devolve into an argument/disagreement (particularly not with you @Nesf since I have never had a falling out with you) ;) 

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Miss Chief

P.S. Just to clarify I don't mean we will fall out over this I mean I don't want it to continue in case that point eventually arises ;) Nor am I suggesting others cannot continue if they wish to merely that I've clarified what I was trying to say and now I'm dropping it ;) 

Edited by Miss Chief

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