[LINK] Translation tool

Rick Welykochy rick at praxis.com.au
Mon Jul 20 18:42:21 AEST 2009

stephen at melbpc.org.au wrote:

> In my experience, for instant language translation .. simply the best:
>  http://translate.google.com

Babelfish predates google trans by many years. Not as many languages are
supported, but another fine resource.


Babelfish was acquired from the (nearly dead?) Alta vista by Yahoo about
a year ago, iirc.

I agree with Stephen that the offering from Google is better. It
seems to recognise idioms, which babelfish has trouble with.


   French:              que je suis fatigue
   English:             I am so tired

   Babelfish:           that I am tiredness
   Google translate:    I'm tired


   Spanish:             hijo de puta
   English:             son of a bitch

   Babelfish:           son of puta
   Google translate:    motherf***er

I think the latter Google translation is a bit too idiomatic !

Aside: Often the first things one learns "in the wild" with native
speakers are idiomatic expressions and cuss words. These easily become
part of one's acquired lingo, sans any thought to derivation or proper

A vigorous application is to translate from English to another
language and back again, comparing the original to the final result.

   English:              the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak
   Babelfish Russian:    дух охотно готов но плоть слаба
   Google Russian:       Дух бодр, но плоть слаба

and back again

   Babelfish English:    spirit is willingly ready but flesh it is weak
   Google English:       the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak

and another ...

   English:              time flies like an arrow
   Babelfish Russian:    время летит как стрелка
   Google Russian:       Время летит, как стрелка

and back again

   Babelfish English:    time flies as the pointer
   Google translate:     time flies like an arrow

BTW: "time flies like an arrow" has at least completely three
different interpretations in English. Without context it
is very difficult to translate this phrase accurately and
maintain the meaning, e.g. the verb can be one of "time",
"flies" and "like" and subject one of "you", "time" and
"flies" respectively.


Rick Welykochy || Praxis Services

We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?
      -- Lee Iacocca

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