Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A different reason to choose human translation

Last December, Blogherald, a blogger's blog, installed a plugin to translate their content to eight languages, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese and Korean. Today, they announced that they've decided to remove it... because of technical problems. They're exploring human translation as an alternative.

It's interesting that technical—not quality—criteria motivated the change. It's not that they're unaware of the quality of machine translation, for they note:
At any rate, most foreign language speakers observe machine translated articles as crude and barely readable as genuine translation anyway. They are too literal, and devoid of usable context.
Nevertheless, if machine translation in its current state does have any use, it's precisely this; to give readers of a different language a general idea of what an article says. But with their pilot project in human translation to Japanese, they've invited their Japanese readers to share the Blogherald experience, not just to peer in at the windows.

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At September 24, 2007 8:35 p.m., Blogger Peter said...

I find plug-in translations occasionally useful when someone posts in another language on my English-language blog. It will often render the post into something close enough to intelligibility that I can answer in English (and I presume that anyone reading my blog can read English!) If I know a bit of the source, I can often correct errors introduced by, for example, the plug-in translator's trouble with gender or word order.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"


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