https://www.duolingo.com/RabidMonkey

Insight: Literal Translations

I've noticed people are doing a lot of word to word translations. I speak two languages and have studied a little bit of Spanish in the past so it probably makes more sense to me. In Spanish, grammar is a bit different. One example is adjectives come after the subject. Remember this and it'll help with better translations. Challenge yourself to come up with good translations instead of just translating it literally because sometimes the sentence doesn't really flow in English. It makes sense but doesn't sound great.

6 years ago

5 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/johncoreys

Right, let´s keep in mind that the very meaning of this website is humans helping to translate the web, meaning that as humans we are capable of knowing whether to translate literally or not different from a computer, so let´s make an effort and we can also refer to the picture below to have an idea or context if you will...

6 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/johaquila
johaquila
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The problem with translation quality is even worse than that. It appears that the vast majority of people just use the proposed translations of words rather than making their own research independent of this site or at least thinking about what makes sense and what doesn't. As a result, in tricky cases I usually get my translations rejected because they are not similar to any of the totally wrong translations that have been incorrectly marked as correct.

Perhaps the most obvious case was a text involving the word "frikada", a Spanish neologism. The automatically generated proposed translation for this word was "frika". (I guess that the system which came up with this misunderstood a dictionary that says "frikada - see frika". "Frika" is Spanish for "freak", and "frikada" is another noun derived from that in analogy with other words such as "fritada".) My translation may have been the first to use the word "freakery" or "freakishness", or indeed indicate any connection to "freak", or maybe the others are all hidden as supposedly incorrect. (The other attempts that I could see all 'translated' the word with "frikada" or "frika" or just left it out.) I am not sure that my translation is even presented to other learners for grading, and I doubt that this insight will make it into the final translation.

This wasn't the only problem of this kind, either. It appears to me that the grading of tasks doesn't work well when the task is hard and it starts with a bad seed.

6 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/melparrishjr

I'm in Basic 1, and I've learned maybe 4 to 8 words of Spanish so far. Then all of a sudden I'm supposed to translate/grade translations of sentences containing words I've never seen in my life! WTF?

6 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Williumwall

Kitties

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bayesian_horse

One of the problems is that a lot of translations come from the "duobot", an automatic translation program. On top of that, yes, if people don't research, then they are going to submit bad translations. If however, you try only to translate what you do understand, you will improve over time. You also don't need to remember every single word. If it is a common enough word, it will pop up again and again.

6 years ago
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