Sunday, December 16, 2007

Scientific Experiment #1: Online Translation

I love it when the kids here use online translators to translate something for an english class. Why? Because the grammer constructions are absolutely hilarous. I can always tell when someone's used an internet translator, just like I can tell when someone's taken something straight from the internet. So to enlighten you about the amusment that comes from online translators, I've decided to conduct a scientific experiement. For this experiement, I will be using the first two sentences from the book The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.

Here are the first two sentences in English:
Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy. This story is about something that happened to them when they were sent away from London during the war because of air-raids.

And now, the first two sentences from the Russian version:
Жили-были на свете четверо ребят, их звали Питер, Сьюзан, Эдмунд и Люси. В этой книжке расскаэывается о том, что приключилось с ними во время войны, когда их вывезли из Лондона, чтобы они не пострадали из-за воздушных налетов.

And now, let the scientific experimenting begin. I have no idea what tranlation tool the kids here use for their english projects, but I have chosen to use Having that said, here's goes nothing.

Part 1: English to Russian to English
For the first part I have taken the english text above, changed it into Russian, and then back to english. The original is above. The translated Russian version is as follows:
Однажды было четыре ребенка, названиями которых был Питер, Сьюзен, Эдмунд, и Люси. Эта история - кое о чем, что случилось с ними, когда они были отосланы из Лондона в течение войны из-за воздушных налетов.

As you can see, even those of you who don't know Russian, the above translation doesn't match the translation of the official Russian version of the book. Actually the above translation is much more of a literal translation. And now, back to english:
Once there were four children which names were Peter, Susan, Эдмунд, and Lucy. This history - which about what, that happens with them when they have been sent from London during war because of air strikes.

Doesn't really match the original, though not bad. I was surprised at how well it did considering. If you'll follow me, we'll move on to part two.

Part Two: Russian to English to Russian
We will now do what we did above in part one with the Russian text.
Lived-were on light of four children, them called Peter, Susan, Эдмунд and Lucy. In this book расскаэывается that has happened to them during war when them have taken out from London that they have not suffered because of air strikes.

Even for those of you who can't read russian, I'm sure that you can still see that the translator doesn't do nearly as good of a job going from Russian to English. It has some trouble with grammar. And now, back to Russian:
Живший - были на свету четырех детей, их назвал Питера, Сьюзен?????? и Люси. В этой книге?????????????? это случилось с ними в течение войны, когда их взяли из Лондона, который они не перенесли из-за воздушных ударов.

Ha ha ha! I have no idea, this is just what the translator spit out for me.

Well, the conclusion I came to from doing this experiment basically confirmed my hypothesis which is that Online translators aren't really the best option out there. It's always better and preferable to do it yourself, and don't think the native speakers won't know. Some ways I could improve this experiment are by testing more than one online translater.

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