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A discussion of the peculiarities of languages and the differences between them.

Postby M. Henri Day » Sun Nov 20, 2005 1:20 pm

No argument about the need to learn languages oneself, BD, rather than relying on electronic translatation algorithms - but I fail to see why printed resources - dictionaries, glossaries, etc - should be considered intrinsically more reliable than electronic ones. Reliability depends not so much upon the medium in which such works are realised, but upon the care taken in their compilation....

Henri
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
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Postby Brazilian dude » Sun Nov 20, 2005 2:19 pm

Reliability depends not so much upon the medium in which such works are realised, but upon the care taken in their compilation....


No doubt about that, but by using dictionaries, I'm relying on my head to string words together based on knowledge that I have accumulated over the years. By using a translation machine, I'm using somebody else's criteria as to decision making and have no idea whatsoever how he/she/it/they came to it. I'd rather rely on my own mistakes than on anybody else's.

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Postby M. Henri Day » Sun Nov 20, 2005 2:45 pm

If the algorithms employed are such that one gets a finished product (translation) without any indication of how it was obtained, than I certainly agree with you, BD - the end products are often far too poor and in any event I myself far too obsessive for me to be satisfied with such a procedure. But websites which provide dictionary definitions with alternatives I find just as useful as I should a book containing the same information....

Henri
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Postby Brazilian dude » Sun Nov 20, 2005 2:46 pm

But websites which provide dictionary definitions with alternatives I find just as useful as I should a book containing the same information....


Works fine for me, too.

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Postby Stargzer » Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:47 am

M. Henri Day wrote:Let us hope that at least the ones that get vaccinated in China . . .
Henri


China to vaccinate entire poultry stock
(AP/China Daily)
Updated: 2005-11-16 06:30

Two of the countries hardest hit by bird flu announced extreme measures to fight the disease Tuesday, with China promising to vaccinate its entire poultry stock of 14 billion birds and Vietnam launching a campaign to purge its two largest cities of poultry.


As the late Everett Dirksen was supposed to have said, "A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking real money." Let's just say that ain't chicken feed. :wink:
Regards//Larry

"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
-- Attributed to Richard Henry Lee
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Postby Stargzer » Mon Nov 21, 2005 1:45 am

Brazilian dude wrote:
Reliability depends not so much upon the medium in which such works are realised, but upon the care taken in their compilation....


No doubt about that, but by using dictionaries, I'm relying on my head to string words together based on knowledge that I have accumulated over the years. By using a translation machine, I'm using somebody else's criteria as to decision making and have no idea whatsoever how he/she/it/they came to it. I'd rather rely on my own mistakes than on anybody else's.

Brazilian dude


The problem with using a normal printed dictionary for the lingustically challenged such as me is that if one doesn't know how verbs are conjugated or nouns and adjectives declined in a language, it's a lot more difficult to translate it. Having had two years of Latin and three of French more than 35 years ago, I could probably make a stab at Spanish, Portuguese, or Italian with a dictionary, but having a machine translator make a first cut at it let's me go back with the dictionary and double-check definitions or look up words the program couldn't translate. Even an online dicitionary that can look up a conjugated or declined form and return the basic word is better than most printed dictionaries. I use WordReference.com, for example, which returns the verb serrar (to saw) when you enter sierras. Minor problem: you have to enter sierra to get the word for mountain range or saw.

For Chinese and Japanese (as well as Vietnamese, Korean, Tamil, and other Asiatic languages) total unfamiliarity with the "chicken scratchings" puts me at a loss to look them up. Ditto for Hebrew and Arabic. I remember reading that Korean Hangul is an alphabetic language, not pictographic/ideographic, but it's still not familiar to this old Latin-based mind. However, Systran will take the Chinese input and return some sort of translation. Alas, it can't translate everything.

Henry's:
老師

in a recent post comes up as:
Old □


From the context, I assume he was talking about a teacher or mentor.

Henri's tagline:
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?


comes out as:

Once recorded otherwise, struck the water to the average, the wave stops flies the boat?


Obviously, something is lost in the translation! :D

But not so bad for a free product, I guess. As Dr. Samuel Johnson said to Boswell, after Boswell told him he had heard a woman preach at a meeting of Quakers: "Sir, a woman's preaching is like a dog's walking on his hinder legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all." Translation programs are like that. ("Like the dog walking, GailR!" he says as he ducks.) [Johnson must have been a batchelor. :wink: ]
Regards//Larry

"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
-- Attributed to Richard Henry Lee
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Postby gailr » Mon Nov 21, 2005 2:42 am

Hmmm, Larry, but no need to duck. Good quote, though; what would he make of this? (And that's part of the appeal of web research, dude. The sheer unexpected.)
-gailr
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Postby Stargzer » Tue Nov 22, 2005 3:12 am

gailr wrote: . . . Good quote, though; what would he make of this? (And that's part of the appeal of web research, dude. The sheer unexpected.)
-gailr


Alas, how the once mighty huntress has been [url=http://www.akc.org/breeds/poodle/index.cfm?SEARCH_BUTTON.X=20\&SEARCH_BUTTON.Y=9]misused[/url] . . .
Regards//Larry

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-- Attributed to Richard Henry Lee
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Postby M. Henri Day » Tue Nov 22, 2005 5:25 pm

H sap sap is not particularly nice to the rest of the world, his so-called best friend C lupus familiaris included....

Henri
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
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