Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Computer Translators? Maybe Not.

Computer Translators? Maybe Not.

Have you ever wanted to communicate with someone whose language you do not speak or write? Have you ever been tempted to try to just use a computer translator and hope for the best? Here’s my advice, don’t do it.

I had a concerned parent who obviously wanted to communicate with me and thought it would be easier for me if she translated her e-mail into English. This is from a parent of a student who is not in my homeroom, so the parent doesn’t know me and doesn’t know that my Spanish is fairly decent, though not perfect. I receive several Spanish e-mails a day a read them with very little trouble. It was thoughtful of the parent to try and communicate with me in my language, but unfortunately the results of the translation made the following e-mail humorously incomprehensible:

Thank you for writing my E, simultaneously I him(her) go to be grateful that finding out on reveille for this way since lately putting on this me sluggish(weak), I comment to him(her) on Mister(coach) on the note that you I order myself, it(he,she) gives him Englishman's, social lessons and sciences, nevertheless I am grateful for him everything one remains communicated on reveille it(he,she) can do it in English since I put the translator and this way I find out, when she(it) does not do his(her,your) reports to him(her), tasks and carrying this one badly, please repréndanla and simultaneously they punish her do not leave him (her) to go out in playtime that is what mas he(she) likes it and in this hour that she(it) does the report that I do not present.

Do you know what that means? Neither do I.

Remember, as much as computers can be helpful, their little brains don’t have language capacity, and definitely not the highly developed syntax that we use constantly. For translation, people are far superior to computers. If you don’t believe me, I’ll reveille that in my Englishman’s social lessons.

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