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Which translation software would you recommend.


P

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Found just a few threads doing a search which did not produce much so I thought I would post this.

I would be grateful for recommendation for translation software that is not mega-expensive but does a reasonable job.

Ideally, something that you can drop text into and it leaves it in the paragraphs etc.

I am aware that no system will be 100% perfect as they work by following rules and language has very many and at times complex rules. 

Have used Google. A french colleague who saw something that I had translated into French and sent to someone was horrified. In one sentence it had translated 'you' into the 'tu' form. So not to good on that score.

Also tried Systran. However, having translated a couple of sentences free on the website it then tells you to buy the product if you want to translate any more and to be honest I want to know it works reasonably well before handing over my cash.

Paul

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Honestly, I wouldn't recommend any translating software - take the money you would've spent on that and enroll yourself in some French classes. 

Just last week, I saw the results of what a $1000 translating program spit out, and it was horrible, and I felt bad for the person who'd bought it and had been depending on it to write all of his letters.  I mean, really, it was BAD. 

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[quote user="samdebretagne"]Honestly, I wouldn't recommend any translating software - take the money you would've spent on that and enroll yourself in some French classes. 


[/quote]

We have been and are attending French classes - and also have a couple of sets of language CDs - so we have and are spending money it that direction. However, it is no good to us if we wish to write or translate something now and have to wait a couple of years until we are more proficient in the langauge. Hence my question which, whilst it might not produce perfect text will be better than what we can do now.

Paul

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I haven't looked at translation software for a while now, but last time I used any in the affordable bracket it was appalling. Most of the auto-translated web sites I've seen have been pretty poor too. If you must go this way you'd better learn to write in short, simple, unambiguous sentences, but that's a good idea anyway!

If you have an occasional need for a nimportant letter or document find yourself a real, human translator. Typical rates are 5p (8 cents) per word but you'll probably be able to find cheaper, especially in France. Even then you'll need to check that what comes out is what you wanted to say. I've done translation verification before now and sometimes the translator was misled by ambiguities in the source.

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It always makes me laugh, when I see something here in the Lot, that has been translated into English using an automated tool.  They always translate "Le Lot" into "the Batch". 

If you need to be able to understand something, these tools can help you to get the essence of the meaning, but are just not suitable for producing anything in French that will not be laughed at.

I agree though, that if you have no other option, you would be best to keep to very short and simple sentances.  Think of it as comparable to talking to a very young child, then break it down into simple unambiguous sentances, and translate each one seperately.

 

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[quote user="P"]

[quote user="samdebretagne"]Honestly, I wouldn't recommend any translating software - take the money you would've spent on that and enroll yourself in some French classes. 


[/quote]

We have been and are attending French classes - and also have a couple of sets of language CDs - so we have and are spending money it that direction. However, it is no good to us if we wish to write or translate something now and have to wait a couple of years until we are more proficient in the langauge. Hence my question which, whilst it might not produce perfect text will be better than what we can do now.

Paul

[/quote]

Unless you're writing or receiving something highly technical or on arcane subjects or involving important legal documents (in which cases I second the suggestion to hire a translator), I would think you could manage fairly well with the following tools:

Oxford-Hachette French Dictionary (Le Grand Dictionnaire Hachette-Oxford) ISBN: 2.01.280506.X - which has a lot of info on idioms and extremely helpful samples of business and social letters in it's "Guide to Effective Communication" section (available from amazon.uk, amongst others);

MS Word (I use 2003) with French spell and grammar-check enabled (like all other software, not flawless, but helpful for putting in accent marks, etc.);

the online "Lexilogos Dictionnaire Français" : http://www.lexilogos.com/francais_langue_dictionnaires.htm

Translation software generally produces documents that are useless and/or ludicrous.  You'd do better to put your money elsewhere.

 

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I'd agree with Tenniswitch. Even my little Harrap's Compact has some

good example letters in it and Word is great for making sure things

like noun - adjective agreements are correct, something that takes a

little getting used to when first starting to write in French.

I sometimes do (free, gratis & for nothing because I am in no way

stamped and licenced for the purpose) translation checking for freinds'

work items. The stuff that comes out of translation software (even the

expensive packages) is usually complete garbage. For important

documents (legal stuff for example) it really is worth paying a

translator.

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I'm a professional translator, and so must admit to being biased. However, there is no such thing as reliable computerised translation. A great number of translators use software called Computer Aided Translation which is very complicated to use, only works well if it's properly set up for each specific job, doesn't work unless there are a large number of repetitions in the text, is no good at all unless the translator using it is a skilled linguist, and also costs a lot of money.

Systran and Google seem to use the same software. This is part of your first post translated from English to French and then back to English:

Found just some wire making a research which did not produce much thus me thought that I would announce this.

 

I would be grateful for the recommendation for the software of translation which is not méga-cher but do a reasonable work.

 

In the best of the cases, something which you can drop the text in and leaves it to him in paragraphs etc

 

I realize that no system will be 100% perfect as it functions beside the following rules and the language has one great number and sometimes complex rules.

 

This is from Babelfish using the same method:

Found just a certain wire making a research which did not produce thus much I not thought that I would announce this. I would be grateful for the recommendation for the software of the translation which is not méga-cher but would carry out a reasonable work. In the best of the cases, something which you can drop the text inside and sheets it with him in paragraphs etc. I realize that no system will be 100% perfect as it functions close to the following rules and the language has a great number and sometimes complex rules.

 

I agree with those posters who recommend a good dictionary, although I would always use Le Robert/Collins rather than Harraps. Amazon have the new Le Robert/Collins at an amazing £16 or so at the moment - worth every penny. If you need serious text translating it really is worth using a professional translator. They are not expensive, but I would say that wouldn't I! Always use a translator who translates into their mother tongue.

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Here is a translation from my Translator changing some of the English words. In any language translator you really need to think about how you can write a sentence simply and without ambiguity.

J'ai constaté que, pendant que je faisais une recherche, quelques choses n'ont pas produit les résultats auxquels je m'étais attendu, donc j'ai pensé que je vous informerais.

Je serais reconnaissant à vous pour n'importe quelles recommandations que vous avez pour le logiciel de traduction, cela doit être bon, mais pas trop cher. Idéalement je veux quelque chose, que vous y pouvez le texte de glisser-déposer, sans changer le stucture des paragraphes etc.

Je suis conscient qu'aucun système ne sera 100 % parfait comme ils travaillent selon les certaines règles suivantes de la langue, qui a bien sûr plusieurs et de temps en temps des règles complexes.

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