Thursday, June 30, 2005

The duck pond/pool and Machine Translation versus Translation Software

Tom, Helen's son, came over with a friend today to start building the duck pond. But I like to call it duck "pool", because it is SO fancy! The swimming ring around the tree with a deeper hole at one end, and a house on the "island" just for the duckies - amazing! Robbie will take pictures soon, so we can show you! They also finished the new doors for Robbie's art studio, they just need to be repainted. The old doors were, by the way, used for the duck house! That duck house is really neat, it even has a little nesting box attached to it, in which we have one of the mama ducks sitting happily now (undisturbed by the geese, who used to pull her (!) off the former goose nest by the neck).

Yvonne, our friend from Belize City, just told me that I spelled the name of the bridge "Hawksworth" wrong, it should be "Hawkesworth" . I think it is the only suspension bridge in Central America, or at least the oldest (built 1941). Anyone know more about it? Write a comment, please, I will be happy to include new information. Today, the bridge is famous, because the La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge, the renowned annual multiday canoe race, starts right under this bridge.

More work today, and nice conversations with agency staff all over the world. That's a really nice thing about this job: all the contacts you have with people on almost every continent. Still working on the large software manual job, it is pretty interesting to do and I even learn more about the translation program I am using. No, this is not about machine translation, which produces mostly funny and usually wrong translations (see Google Translator) and produces sentences like this:

English:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
German:
Im anfangengott stellte die Himmel und die Masse her (compare to: Am Anfang schuf Gott Himmel und Erde)

or

German:
Sein oder nicht sein, das ist hier die Frage
English:
Its or its, that is not here the question (compare to: To be or not to be, that is the question.).

or

English:
the early bird catches the worm
German:
der frühe Vogel verfängt sich die Endlosschraube (compare to: der frühe Vogel fängt den Wurm)

Well, this is exactly why machine translation is not the answer and REAL people are needed to do the job. Thanks, Google, for creating jobs for us :-).

Translation software, however, remembers the sentences you already translated and offers them to you if you have a similar translation in your new document. That's really very useful, although the programs are rather expensive. I just learned today how to verify ("überprüfen") original settings ("Einstellungen") with new settings, so nothing gets lost. Very good function of my favorite translation program Trados.

Ok, I better get back to my fun work then:-)

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