Free Language Translation

Free language translation... Of course, we do not pay for it. But is such translation useful? Can we rely on it? Can it be accurate?

Periodically, I receive emails from companies, with which I cooperate, written in German, Italian or French. I do not speak these languages, but I need to know the content of the emails because it may be important for my business.

What do I do? Simply use free language translation software at SDL to translate them into English. Although resulting machine translations are inaccurate and clumsy, they are OK for "gisting". They do give an idea of what is written in the emails.

SDL offers, in particular, the following free translation tools: Free Text Translator, Free Web Page Translator, Facebook Translation Application, and iPhone Translation Application. Free language translation tools of SDL do not just translate text word-by-word, but also analyze it based on grammar rules.

Free Text Translator translates from and into English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Russian, Japanese. It also translates from English into Simplified and Traditional Chinese.

Free Web Page Translator translates from English into French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, and Norwegian.

iPhone Translation Application helps to translate words in real time from and into English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Norwegian, Russian and Chinese.

Another free language translation software that I would recommend is the Google translation system (Google Translate) for text and website translation between 50+ languages.

Google has used a special approach to "train" their automatic translation system, that is Google creates databases of source texts and respective human translations using zillions of electronic texts available in two or more languages. Relationships between these texts are analyzed and memorized, and then used by the automatic translation system, which thus learns from the human translations.

This free online language translation service of Google has an additional useful feature - an automatic language identifier.

In the context of free language translation, SYSTRAN is worth mentioning too. It is one of the leaders in the language translation software market. With its free online language translator one can translate texts, web pages, files and RSS feeds in many language pairs.

There are much more free online translators, popular and not-so-popular. All of them provide machine (or automatic) translation.

Advantages of machine translation are as follows:

    It is instant, free of charge and gives the gist of something written in a language that you do not understand. It is acceptable for personal use. Also, businesses can use it when they need to process massive volumes of data to scan for certain terms. Then, identified portions of text containing the terms of interest can be passed to human translators for professional translation.

Machine translation disadvantages:

    Translations are inaccurate, skewed, and sometimes meaningless. The point is that machine translation tools are unable to take into account situational, social and cultural contexts without which communication is impossible. Professional human translators actually transfer thoughts behind words, and we cannot expect the same from translation software so far.

If you intend to do business with foreign partners or communicate with people speaking a foreign language, consider a professional translation service. By the way, professional translators provide free translations as well.

Further reading on free online machine translation:

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Links to Partner Sites:

- Is English not your first language? Try these Free Online Translations! Translate text between a variety of languages online at the touch of a button! Although this service cannot provide high quality translations, it is enough to provide a quick and easy basic solution.

- Online English to Afrikaans Translation with translatable Articles. All our Articles are Free to reprint and can be translated to over 17 languages.

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_____________________________________________________________________ Website owner: Irina Lychak, self-employed freelance linguist, Russian translator, Ukrainian translator, Kiev (Kyiv), Ukraine

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