https://www.duolingo.com/dkws

How to deal with translations that depend upon context?

For example, a Wikipedia text I assume is about some sort of MMORPG used the French "lien externe." From the context of it being probably an online game, someone translated that as "external link," but someone else had gone in a different direction and translated it as "external bond," which, under other circumstances, a legitimate translation.

This also goes for Wikipedia articles pertaining to works of art or literature that are called by titles that don't necessarily correspond to each other, and when there are official accepted translations for these things. What to do then? (e.g. "The Hunger Angel" is the English title of the German book "Atemschaukel," but Atemschaukel does not by any means mean "hunger angel.")

Of course, if we can't speak the source language, context in the form of other sentences doesn't help. Is there some way to involve native speakers without defeating the secondary purpose of Duolingo, that is, translating the Internet? (i.e. if there was one "right" translation, then there wouldn't be a need to translate).

Duolingo is a really cool idea, and I want to see it succeed, so thoughts and ideas on this puzzle welcome!

6/20/2012, 4:16:51 PM

2 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/lizpee

sometimes you might come across a phrase, which when translated word for word doesn''t make sense and you need a native speaker to explain what that phrase means so you can translate accordingly (or may be it's slang not available in dictionaries). perhaps native speakers of german, french and spanish can contribute with the creation of some sort of database for such phrases and words (i can think of lots of english words and phrases that greeks would not have a clue about, unless it was explained to them).

6/20/2012, 4:56:36 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/dkws

Yeah, absolutely! I see that already happening in the mouse-over definitions that sometimes include phrases instead of just single words.

Mostly I feel like we should avoid downrating people that have translated something accurately but not correctly because of insufficient context. At the same time, their translation is still incorrect and thus should not be looked at as credible... conundrum!

6/20/2012, 11:45:22 PM
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