Free Online Translation:
Not a Panacea, but a Useful Tool

With the global expansion of the Internet, we use free online translation services more and more often in the attempt to understand huge volumes of content available on the Internet in languages other than our mother tongue.

We can get online translations on machine translation portals, such as ForeignWord, or from online machine translation service providers, such as PROMT-Online Translator and FreeTranslation. Let's take a closer look at free online translations to see when we should avoid them and when they can be really helpful.

It goes without saying that machine translation systems cannot be used for translation of literary texts without thorough revision of the output by professional translators. Let’s experiment with Google Translate, one of the most popular providers of free online translation services. Here is an interesting legend in Russian taken from Illumination (a book of the Agni Yoga Series), its free online translation by Google Translate and human translation for comparison:
free online translation, Agni Yoga




Russian originalFree online translation by Google TranslateHuman translation by Agni Yoga Society
Запишите легенду — уже Говорил, что понимать язык можно внутренним сознанием. Качество это было оповещено через высокую жрицу и дало прекрасное последствие. Послы дальних стран говорили ей на своем языке, и она понимала их. Создалось предание о вечном языке.

Но народ захотел толпами убедиться в понимании.

Были приведены многие чужестранцы, и жрица была сведена с восьмого этажа, несмотря на протесты. Но ничто не было явлено перед народом, и чужестранцы напрасно твердили свои речи. Так была загублена одна из лучших возможностей.

Но ее можно будет применить, изучая качество ауры, ибо это мост блага и заразы.

Могущество понимания даже родного языка зависит не от уха, но от касания другими центрами через ауру. Потому лучше сказать — понял, нежели — услышал. Потому вопрос ауры не столько важен цветом, сколько — внутренним напряжением.

Note the legend - has already said that you can understand the language of inner consciousness. Quality had been alerted after a high priestess, and has a wonderful effect. After further spoke of her in their own language, and she understood them. Had the tradition of the eternal language.

But the people wanted the crowds to see sense.

Many foreigners were given, and the priestess was reduced from the eighth floor, despite the protests. But nothing had appeared before the people and foreigners to no matter their language. It was zagublena one of the best opportunities.

But it can be applied by examining the quality of the aura, because the bridge is good, and infection.

The power of understanding, even the native language does not depend on the ear, but it touches the other centers through the aura. It is better to say - understand, rather than - I heard. Because the issue is not so much the aura color is important, but - internal tensions.

I have already told you about the inner understanding of languages. Write down this legend: It was once proclaimed that a certain high priestess could understand any language through the inner consciousness, and wonderful results followed. Envoys from far-off lands spoke to her in their own language and she understood them. Thus there was created a legend about the eternal language.

But crowds of people wished to be convinced about it.

Many foreigners were brought forward, and the priestess was led down from the eighth floor in spite of her protests. But nothing was manifested for the people, and the strangers reiterated in vain their speeches. Thus was ruined one of the best possibilities.

Yet it would be possible to put this into practice by studying the quality of aura, because this is the bridge of both bliss and contagion.

The ability to understand even one's own native tongue depends not upon the ear but on the contact with other centers through the aura. Therefore, it is better to say, “I have understood,” than to say, “I have heard.” Therefore, as to the question of aura, its color is not so important as is its inner intensity.

free online translation, Agni Yoga



As you see from the table, the quality of this free online translation is poor. One word has not been translated at all (“zagublena”, a grammatical form of the verb “zagubit’ ” meaning “to ruin”).

As regards other types of texts, namely legal, financial, technical etc., the situation is no better. A free online translation service will not help. Of course, there are customized commercial machine translation systems designed for specific domains and language pairs. They produce better results than free online translation services. However, all machine translation systems produce rough output which must be edited by linguists if it is intended for publication.

Notwithstanding all its imperfection, free online translation is a useful tool for handling translations in real time. An area where we cannot do without free online translations is instant translation of emails, chat messages, informal texts, webpages and websites. Actually, all cases when we need immediate information. Then poor quality of the translation is acceptable as long as such translation helps to get the gist of the source text.

In conclusion, it is worthwhile mentioning that about 60 portals/providers are available online offering online translation services. Many of them do this free of charge. The most popular portals/providers of free online translation services include: Applied Language Solutions, ForeignWord, Lexicool, Lexilogos, Translation Guide, Babelfish, Babylon, Translator, FreeTranslation, Google Translate, PROMT, Reverso, Windows Live Translator.

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

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