Saturday, April 28, 2007

My own blog translated into Chinese! C'est du vrai chinois! 的翻译

While checking my sitemeter for visitors, I found that one of them had had my site translated into Chinese. I forwarded the link to a Chinese translator friend of mine for comments. Here they are:

"It's very obviously a machine translation. The result is: if you don't know English, you can't understand what the translation say. If you can make sense out of the translated text, you must be already fluent in English and don't need the translation in the first place.
A few things in here:
* The Chinese is done totally mechanically, mirroring English syntax. All the necessary recasting of the Chinese text didn't happen here.
* There is no passive voice in Chinese, because this is an isolated language, meaning each character is isolated from others as a single morph. There is no inflection. Each character shows up as it is. If you want to represent tense, voice, number, etc., you have to add some other characters, to mean just that, such as from "play" to "played". In here, this didn't happen. All passive voices were just mechanically switched back, which totally distorted the meaning.
* Selection of words is mechanical too, which I believe is typical of machine translation in all language pairs. No nuances were captured here. And many word selections were simply out of context.
* It's word-for-word translation and the words appear in the target text all in exactly the same places, totally disregarding the target language's grammatical structure.
* As you notice, the translation still comes with a few English word left untouched, obviously because they were not entered in the glossary database yet.

Overall, it's a horrible and totally unreadable translation. Waste of money and waste of time, plus, if used without caution, might cause big damage."

The indiscriminate use of translation software does indeed represent a great danger. That is why I caution my clients about it and will go to great pains to explain what risks they are taking. Buyer beware!

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