Some Facts About Translation:
About Machine Translation (MT):While MT has done a lot of progress over the last decade, human translator is still irreplaceable. Writing is about formulating thoughts which are transmitted to readers. A machine cannot so far comprehend a thought. At best, a machine will read one word in one language and automatically browses for its equivalent in another. Words have several meanings which change depending on the context. The greater progress in MT has been the matching of one sentence in one language to another in the targeted language. This has been accomplished by feeding the computer with thousand of memory translated sentences. While theoretically it could be conceivable to store every possible combinations of words with their translated counterpart, practically the meaning of the sentences might still not convey the true essence of the thoughts in the source language. Only a human being can understand what he or she is reading and formulate the same thought in another language. MT has been on the rise as a tool to accelerate translations but still needs heavy human interventions in editing.
If a document is bound to be widely circulated, a second opinion is in order. A poorly translated document could damage a company image in a foreign market, ridicule a government publication, or ruin the credibility of an academic paper. Only a professional translator will be able to translate documents in a manner which is accurate in content, meaning, format, layout, and consistent in terminology. Also, a human translator is able to catch some idiomatic expressions which have been miss-translated or to correct sentences which don’t flow properly, making a document hard to understand. These functions have yet to appear in Machine Translation in order to create a solid rendition of the original text.
In conclusion, for the foreseeable future, a human translator cannot yet be replaced by a machine.
About the French language:While the French language is fairly universal, there are still some regional variations in idiomatic expressions. For example, the French Canadian (Québécois) will use the word “remise” for “discount” while the French (France) people will use “rabais”. Moreover, the Swiss French (Suisse Romand) people will use the word “remise” preferably for a “shed”. In another case, the Swiss French people use the word “catelle” for a “tile” while the French people use the word “faïence”. While these differences are stubble, there are still important when you targeting a specific audience. As a comparison, the New Yorkers will refer as a “Soda” anything pertaining to a soft drink, while the Mid-Westerners use the word “pop”, and the Southerners employ the word “coke”. The difference between the British English and the American English is even more startling. Not only numerous words are spelled differently but also the choice of words is very different. For instance, an antenna in US English is called an “aerial” in Great Britain. An “eighteen wheelers” or semi-driver in the US is named a “lorry driver” in England. The word “lorry” means the “fifth wheel” in the US. The list is quite exhaustive but these few examples illustrate the disparities between the two English. The key success in a good translation is a translation done by a native translator of the target language who naturally knows the common local expressions.
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