Friday, January 14, 2005

Translation by Computer?

The joke among translators is that computers may do a literal translation and miss the meaning. "The flesh is strong but the spirit is weak" was translated and when it came back to English, it came out as "The meat is good but the wine is not." Things are changing, however. With the number of countries increasing in the European Union, the amount of translation has had a parallel growth. To increase their productivity, translators are using computers as aids. One such program is TransType2, which allows rapid and accurate translation. TransType2 uses a blend of commonly used technologies which include Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) and Machine Translation (MT). To assure high quality translation, human translators are used. As they type, TransType2 gives them suggestions which can be easily incorporated in the final product. Increase in productivity has been about 25 to 30 per cent, which is certainly significant. The TransType2 prototype is currently designed to assist translations from English to French, Spanish and German and vice versa but other languages will be added.

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