Launched in April 2006 as a statistical machine translation service, it used United Nations and European Parliament documents and transcripts to gather linguistic data. Rather than translating languages directly, it first translates text to English and then pivots to the target language in most of the language combinations it posits in its grid, with a few exceptions including Catalan–Spanish.
A good translator should follow the procedures required by client; know how to provide the details and comply with the client’s as well as the agency’s rules. If you decide to specialize in any subject, it is critical keep up to date about your specialization. Keeping updated on developments, trends and regulations will keep a corporate translator in good stead.
Once you select a phrase category, you can drill down into subcategories and then into a specific list of phrases. At that level, the machine’s translation accuracy increases dramatically. When you say or type, “I need an ATM” while in the bank category, the machine searches a much smaller list of possible translations, increasing the odds it will find the best match. It may respond with, “Where is the nearest ATM?” which isn’t a direct translation but is an accurate representation of what you meant. Back in 1985, it was hard to tell what was funnier — Chevy Chase or the concept of a language translator that could actually perform well. That’s because machine translation, the use of computers to translate from one language to another, hadn’t lived up to the hype generated in the 1950s and ’60s. Novelty websites like Bad Translator and Translation Party have utilized the service to produce humorous text by translating back and forth between multiple languages, similar to the children’s game telephone.
Google Translate’s inaccuracy can be illustrated by translating from one language to another then back to the original language. This will often result in nonsensical constructions, rather than recovering the original text.
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Some Translations Need a Human Touch
This is important if you want to customize the device’s dictionary with your own entries. For example, the Franklin Electronics 14 Language Speaking Global Translator comes with a USB hub designed for a mini-USB 1.1-compatible connection. Once you connect the translator to your Mac or PC, you can download a personal dictionary of up to 500 words from your computer to the device. This is great if you’re trying to communicate about a highly specialized subject area or if you need occupation-related words or phrases. Papago offers all the translation features you’ll ever need, including text translation, image translation, voice translation, handwriting translation, a dictionary, and offline mode. The only downside to Papago is that it only allows you to translate 13 languages — most of the other options in this guide let you to translate many more languages than that.
We’ve also reviewed nine other top translation apps that are worth checking out below. To become a good translator you should have a mastery of the target language and a good knowledge of the different dialects, punctuation, grammar, axioms, slang, variants, styles, jargon and its euphemisms. When diving into professional translation services, be sure to choose a compelling name for your translation company. Remember, established companies in the industry have earned their reputation through years of consistent, high-quality service. Many electronic translators run on two AAA batteries, so you’ll be packing backup batteries.
Before we dive into specs and features, it’s important to understand what you can and can’t do with electronic translators. You can’t pick up a translator, start reading “To Kill a Mockingbird” and have Harper Lee’s prose come out the other side, perfectly translated in the target language. Such machines, known as universal translators, don’t yet exist on the consumer electronics aisle in 2012.
The UN typically publishes documents in all six official UN languages, which has produced a very large 6-language corpus. Hence, publishing in English, using unambiguous words, providing context, using expressions such as “you all” may or may not make a better one-step translation depending on the target language.