Ed. Note: Since last week's language learning resource blog post was so well-received, consider this a second linguistically-inspired and - hopefully - equally well-received post (of which, I have no doubt, there will be many more).
The reality of the situation is that this is what the world looks like. We live in an increasingly multilingual society and, as analysts, this inarguably affects our jobs. Daily.
|Figure 1: Languages of the World - Source: This wonderful data visualization|
Below is the answer (an answer, at least) to this question: A compendium of (free!) online machine translation services rank ordered by way of a little linguistics experiment!
- I would be remiss in this post if I did not include the infamous Google Translate (for all the flack it gets, I really don't think they are too horrible). And besides, where else do you plan to translate from Azerbaijani to English? With 72 languages, they have the largest repository of the online translation services, but... then again, it's Google.
- The Dictionary.com translator is a close second with 53 translation languages, Icelandic and Maltese among them. The only downside is that there is a 300 character limit to translation so, if you're planning on dumping paragraphs into the translator (which you really shouldn't do anyway), this one is probably not for you.
- The Bing translator maintains a 44 language repository with a user interface (UI) as appealing as Google's, and the recent buzzing in the blogosphere gives Bing the edge over Google when it comes to translation services.
- Free Translation (using SDL translation services) translates from 41 languages (Bengali among them!), but only into the big five (English, Spanish, Italian, French and Portugese).
- Babelxl translates 36 languages.
- This one is my personal favorite! As an avid linguist and frequent translator, I consider itranslate4.eu to be the most exciting find of the day. This site translates both in and out of 35 languages across many different search engines! Your output is the same translation provided by SYSTRAN, linguatec, PROMPT and others. This allows you to compare translations for greater comprehension and accuracy. Also, the language repository includes unexpected languages such as Breton (go ahead ... look it up), Esperanto, Kazakh and Occitan.
- Babylon translates 30, including two different forms of Chinese. It is very similar to the capabilities of Wordlingo and imTranslator.
- A little history: SYSTRAN is one of the oldest machine translation software (dating back to 1968) and, what do you know, they now have an online translator SYSTRANet. It translates out of 15 languages but only into the big 5. Google used SYSTRAN until circa 2007 and it is the current translation software behind the dashboard translator app for Mac OS X.
- Babelfish (not to be confused with Yahoo! Babel Fish, which is now the Bing translator) translates 14 languages both ways. Again, the 300 character limit applies.
- Reverso is an interesting site. It makes up for a clunky UI and limited language capacity (9 languages) with the option to have your full translation read to you in the target language simply by clicking a button.
This is what was translated into English: "Lingüistas de la Universidad de Glasgow han demostrado de que . Tal y como publican en la revista especializada Language, sus conclusiones se basan en el análisis de los efectos de la telenovela británica , emitida por la cadena británica BBC, sobre el modo de hablar de los escoceses."Common errors included:
- Failing to translate the infinitive Spanish verb "ver" into the gerund English equivalent watching (as opposed to watch).
- Incorrect syntactical word order of adverbs in the first sentence such as actively ("de manera activa") and quickly ("rapidamente").
- No service except for Google Translate managed to successfully translate "revista especializada" to journal as opposed to specialized magazine.
- Mistranslation of the past participle "emitida" to various other English connotations such as emitted or issued.
- No service successfully translated the final clause "sobre el modo de hablar de los escoceces," which means "about the Scottish way of speaking" or, more colloquially, "about the Scottish accent." Common translations were: "the way to speak of the Scotts," "the way of speaking about the Scotts," and "how to talk about the Scotts." This is because in this clause, "de" can be interpreted to mean either "of" (correct) or "about" (incorrect); so this error was due to a mistranslation of the preposition.
Know of a trusted translation service not listed here? Leave a comment!
And finally, to conclude this linguistics saga of blog posts, check back on Wednesday for a post containing other language-related resources particularly relevant to analysis!