David M. Brown's Blog

March 19, 2010

Google Translate. Please, Google. Please, please translate.

Filed under: Language and grammar,Politics — davidmbrowndotcom @ 7:50 am

Wow, I just found out that if a foreign-language page comes up in a Google search and you click “translate,” you can not only read the page in a sort-of English translation, you can also view the original-language version as you scroll over the sort-of translated text. Individual sentences are highlighted one at a time as you scroll with your mouse, and a pop-up bubble supplies the original text for that highlighted sentence. I just tried seeing if I could search for the New York Times at google.fr and get the Times sort-of translated into French, but the attempt yielded a “Page Not Found” message. Then I recherchered for the Washington Post at Google.fr, clicked “traduire cette page”…and…voila! “Dimanche vote attendu pour 940B $ Maison de mesure”!! “Sunday vote expected for $940B House measure.” So I’m not sure what’s up with the Times page, but it seems that at least sometimes one can start from a foreign Google search page and obtain a rough translation of English sites into a foreign language. Though the translations aren’t perfect, this looks like a good way to refresh and expand knowledge of a foreign language.

Here’s Google’s English translation of a French translation of an English passage: “As the angle of the House Republicans to prevent passage in the vote scheduled for Sunday, Senate Republicans, put traps procedure for all revisions.” The main stumbling block was the translation into French of the word “angle,” which the translating machinery did not recognize to be a verb. No angle did any scheduling for Sunday. We get it, though. The point is, the Republicans are trying to stop passage of the godawful socialist healthcare legislation…as they should, whether by angling or traps procedural. The Democrats have been using every dirty trick in and out of the book to impose this vicious assault on our liberties.

BTW, you can’t use Google.bs to translate what’s coming out of the mouths of Obama and Pelosi. The “bs” in this case stands for The Bahamas.


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