23 January 2010

Use the Google Translator Toolkit to Jump Start your Translation Work

The Google Translator Toolkit is Google's way of disseminating ideas that are conceived in languages that may otherwise not be read by people who don't understand the language on which the work has been written. It is a place where you can perform a translation work on any document available online or materials from your computer that you can upload.

What's nice about this service if you're a translator is that Google already provides you with something to start with in your translation job. Google shows you a machine translation of the document made automatically by computer programs aided by data bases of cross translations among the languages supported.

To start translating a web page, you have to specify the URL of the page as well as the source and target languages of the translation work. You can also upload a file from your computer such as Adwords archive, HTML, Microsoft Word, Open Document, plain text and rich text documents. Not all languages can be used as source language, that is the language on which the work is originally written. Filipino is not one of the source languages from which the Google Translator Toolkit can translate.

However, the toolkit can translate documents written in English into Filipino. I tried translating one of my web pages using the Google Translation Toolkit and it went fine and I was able to produce something that I feel will be understandable to native Filipino speakers. Machine translation is a word for word or a phrase for phrase translation so there will definitely be a lot of rehashing that needs to be done.

The human translator can look at the output of the machine translation and he can decide whether to use the machine's output as starting point or dispense with the machine translation and start a purely human translation. Depending on the working style of the translator, he may find the Google Translator Toolkit helpful or a thing that makes his work more time-consuming and difficult.

The advantage of using the Google Translator Toolkit is that you are provided with something to work on. You must carefully review the output of the machine translation so that you can assess how much more work needs to be done. Depending on your assessment of how much more work needs to be done, you may decide to work on the machine translation or start your own human translation if you think that you can work more accurately and faster this way.

The Google Translator Toolkit will most probably work best on materials that talk about concrete objects such as descriptions or step by step procedures on methods that deal with concrete objects. I don't think the toolkit will work well with literary works where literary and artistic techniques are employed in the writing of the work.

Once the document is loaded into the Google Translator Toolkit, you will be prompted to review the translation sentence by sentence. Here is where you make the necessary human correction to the word for word translation made by the machine. You will notice a percent completion statistics which shows what percentage of the work has been completed. The number however will not reach 100 percent so it is not an accurate metric. If you feel that your translation is finished you can mark the work as completed by clicking on Edit and then Translation Complete at the top right-hand portion of the toolkit window.

At any time during your correction, you can click on the Show Toolkit tab and you will be shown a similar translation that someone has done in the past. It is here also where you can use the dictionary and glossary to find a corresponding term for a word in the target language. Finally, you can save your work and return to the dashboard where all your previous translation works are displayed.

You can also invite people whom you would like to share your translation with and download the translation work you have made to your computer. Finally, you can delete any of your translation work that you feel does not need to be maintained online anymore. There are limits to file sizes of documents to be translated as well as the total amount of storage allotted for your files which you can check if you're already using the Google Translation Toolkit.

So the Google Translation Toolkit is a good way to jump start your translation work. It has tools and facilities to help you perform your translation work faster and more accurately. It provides for example translations as well as dictionary and glossary tools to aid you in your translation work. You can search for the service using your favorite search engine and try using it. And like me, you may get to like it.

Read my article on how you can use the Google Translator to build up your Tagalog vocabulary at: http://hinagapnikaure.blogspot.com/2010/01/how-to-use-google-translator-to-build.html.