Translation-friendly authoring ,
section Why automatic translation is realistic


Translation from English to French

This example consists of a text of mine, an extract from How to use images in communication in general and on the Web in particular, and its translation into French by Babelfish:

English original French translation

"You can never use too many images"

A very large number of published documents contain text only. They often look boring, and they are often written in obscure language, using mile-long sentences and cryptic technical terms, using one font only, perhaps even without headings. Such style, or lack of style, might be the one you are strongly expected to follow when writing eg scientific or technical reports, legal documents, or administrative papers. It is natural to think that such documents would benefit from a few illustrative images. (However, just adding illustration might be rather useless, if the text remains obscure and unstructured.)

It is too easy to go to the other extreme when trying to avoid the boring plain text syndrome. This is especially true on the Web, where it is relatively easy technically to add illustration, for instance by picking images from various existing collections. Many people seem to think that you can't have too many images. If they can't find a suitable image, they use an unsuitable one.

When people say that one image tells more than a thousand words, they tend to overlook the fact that what the image says might be true or false, relevant or off-topic, useful or disturbing, constructive or tasteless. (I won't bother to refute the saying by pointing out that there are images which say nothing. However, I cannot resist the temptation to remark that oddly enough the saying itself is expressed using words.)

" vous pouvez ne jamais utiliser trop d'images "

Un nombre très grand de documents édités contiennent le texte seulement. Ils regardent souvent le sondage, et ils sont souvent écrits en langage obscur, en utilisant de mille-longues phrases et termes techniques cachés, en utilisant une fonte seulement, peut-être même sans entêtes. Un tel modèle, ou manque de modèle, pourrait être celui on s'attend à ce que fortement que vous suiviez en écrivant par exemple des états scientifiques ou techniques, les documents juridiques, ou les papiers administratifs. Il est normal de penser que de tels documents tireraient bénéfice de quelques images d'illustration. (cependant, l'illustration ajoutante juste pourrait être plutôt inutile, si le texte demeure obscur et non structuré.)

Il est trop facile d'aller à l'autre extrémité en essayant d'éviter le syndrome ordinaire ennuyeux des textes. C'est particulièrement vrai sur le Web, où il est relativement facile techniquement d'ajouter l'illustration, par exemple en sélectionnant des images de diverses collections existantes. Beaucoup de gens semblent penser que vous ne pouvez pas avoir trop d'images. S' ils ne peuvent pas trouver une image appropriée, ils utilisent peu convenable.

Quand les gens disent qu' une image indique plus que mille mots, ils tendent à donner sur le fait que ce que l'image indique pourrait être vrai ou faux, approprié ou hors fonction-sujet, utile ou dérangeant, constructif ou insipide. (je ne prendrai pas la peine de réfuter l'énonciation en précisant qu'il y a des images qui n'indiquent rien. Cependant, je ne puis pas résister à la tentation de remarquer qu'assez curieusement l'énonciation elle-même est exprimée en utilisant des mots.)

The result certainly isn't good French--it is easy to see that there are errors even in the use of capital letters to begin a sentence--but I suppose it conveys the basic message in the original. Perhaps it should be mentioned that I wrote the text before I started thinking about the use of automatic translation for Web pages, and thus it has not been "tuned".

Translation from Finnish to English

This example is a short translation (of a fragment of an article on machine translation) from Finnish to English by TranSmart, a demo of software by Kielikone.

Finnish original English translation
Kääntäminen lisääntyy eri syistä jatkuvasti. Teknologia tuottaa yhä mutkikkaampia laitteita ja yhä laajempia asennus- ja käyttöoppaita. Vientituotteiden ohjeet pitää kääntää asiakkaiden kielille. Samaten patenttihakemusten ja tieteellisten artikkelien määrä kasvaa. The translation increases continuously for different reasons. The technology produces increasingly complicated devices and the increasingly wide installation guides and use guides. The instructions of the export products must be translated into the customers' languages. The number likewise of the patent applications and of the scientific articles increases.

The translation given by Transmart contains some text in italics, indicating that the italicized text is a translation for a compound word in the original. (Often this means that the translation is not idiomatically correct but usually helps in getting the idea.)

Obviously, the translation is far from being idiomatically and stylistically perfect. Yet, one can understand the content pretty well.

The incorrect use of articles in the translation is mainly caused by the fact that the Finnish language lacks both definite and indefinite articles.

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