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The W - Site Feedback - language translation fun & games
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Cherries > Peaches

Since: 1.8.02
From: Phoenix-ish

Since last post: 52 days
Last activity: 6 days
#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.22
Looks like we have a poster from Spain who'd like to participate in the Lost discussion over in the TV forum. But apparently she doesn't write english any better than I write spanish, which is virtually nada.

She tried posting just the output of a translation program, & that didn't work out at all. Looked like that program had a lot of problems with short sentences & conversational tone. I suggested that she post both her original & a translation, & figured I/we could try doing the same. (At least that way, if the translation doesn't make much sense, we can try running the original through a different translator.)

I tried using Google translate (, & got decent-looking results (as best I can tell.), but still had to do some fiddling & fixups.

So, anybody got any experience, suggestions or whatever in trying to run a bilingual online board discussion? Is Google translate my best bet? I've been trying to think if there's any mechanism that I could beg Zims for that might facilitate, but haven't come up with anything specific I could request. (Yet.)
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Guru Zim
SQL Dejection

Since: 9.12.01
From: Bay City, OR

Since last post: 11 days
Last activity: 4 days
#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.81
I've only ever used Babelfish, and even then, it really helps if one or both sides have an OK grasp of the other language.

Mi Espanol no es bueno.

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Ignorance is bliss for you, hell for me.

Since: 7.11.02
From: Dallas, TX

Since last post: 1440 days
Last activity: 943 days
#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.73
Unfortunately, there's no translation program that can capture context and nuance in written text. Also, idioms and words that mean more than one thing are obviously problematic for translation programs. For example, in the Lost thread, it treats 'mole' (topo) as the animal and not as the spy/infiltrator. In fact, it's kind of entertaining to plug something into a translator, translate it to one language and then translate it back to the original language. You get some interesting results. In using translation programs, you generally get better results by keeping sentences simple and complete while avoiding figurative language and idiomatic expressions.

I think Emma's suggestion is best because you can then see the context, which is especially helpful if you have at least a passing knowledge of the language. And, if not, you can always ask someone who speaks both English and Spanish. If nothing else, I know there are at least a few on this board.
Big Brother

Since: 9.12.01
From: ミネアポリス

Since last post: 6 days
Last activity: 19 hours
#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.00
Just the fact that she calls it "castellano" tells me that I have no hope. I have enough problems with español. ;-)

If she wants to try to follow our discussion in English, more power to her. If she wants to add a reply in her own language, even MORE power to her! If any of us want to try to respond...well, I'll probably laugh at you if you try to do it in Spanish, but more power to you. I don't think we need someone to immediately follow every reply with a Babelfish translation, though - if you're curious enough you can do that on your own. I'm guessing she might be doing the same thing in the opposite direction.

Part of this came from the really bizarre way that the Spanish language Googles decided to place Cubs' Episode 1 thread in the Top 10 search results for "Lost 4x1" (while we only ended up on the second page on G proper) so the search engines brought a good number of people our way who probably would have preferred not landing on an English language message board. Still, everybody's welcome as far as I'm concerned.

Potato korv

Since: 2.1.02
From: Quincy, MA

Since last post: 3598 days
Last activity: 3450 days
#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.23
FYI, castellano is the Spanish word for Castilian, which is the dialect that people in Spain speak. Not hugely different from Mexican Spanish, aside from some vocabulary stuff, and that in Castilian Spanish, an S sound is pronounced with a TH noise. Like if you had a lisp. I knew watching Destinos would come in handy someday.

"I could drown the pain, and drink upon commuter trains, and here you stand in eastern standard time"
- Mike Doughty

Since: 10.12.01
From: Aurora, IL

Since last post: 3 days
Last activity: 13 hours
#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 10.00
    Originally posted by CRZ
    Part of this came from the really bizarre way that the Spanish language Googles decided to place Cubs' Episode 1 thread in the Top 10 search results for "Lost 4x1"

thecubsfan = favorable Spanish language content! except my own stuff doesn't show up well on

I feel like I should be contributing in someway here, because I've been doing the same thing as the Espana Lost poster - reading other (Spanish) language message boards and occasionally posting in broken fragments via translation software. (Or attempting to translate content posted on my own sites.) But I don't really have a solution. If she posts in Spanish, she's probably going to get ignored (though less so than I'm used to). If she uses google or babelfish or anything else available, her posts are still going to read odd. If she posts both, it's more work and the Spanish isn't going to help much anyone who wouldn't be fine with just it to begin with.

I think the best solution is the one she tried originally - just let google butcher it into English the best it can. You'll have to accept that some won't come thru clear, but plenty of stuff doesn't come thru clearly from people who do speak English. - CMLLBlog
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