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Learning Article : On The Danger Of Using Online Translators (French)


Discuss the Article : On The Danger Of Using Online Translators (French)

On The Danger Of Using Online Translators (French)

I'm a big fan of online translators, but online translators have to be used sparingly. They are NO GOOD AT ALL at translating sentences all at once. Here are some things to keep in mind...




Google Translate is great for a quick answer


Linguee is best for checking what's actually popular. Not only does it give you translations, it gives you contexts so you can double check if the word you were about to use is really the best for what you had in mind.

I agree that one should not totally rely upon these translators. I don't agree to you that they translate word by word. In Google Translator, changing just one word in the sentence changes the structure of the sentence!

Linguee does not translate itself. It searches the corresponding text in multilingual web pages. They use the translations already present at web sites that is most probably done by human translators. This translation, however, can be incorrect and this is marked by linguee with a yellow danger sign. Moreover linguee works with language professionals and they have developed a kind of dictionary.


My sister-in-law is a professional French teacher in New Zealand. She gave me this funny video she uses in her class 


It takes the following lyrics and feed them in Google translate:

"In west Philadelphia born and raised
On the playground where I spent most of my days
Chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool
And all shooting some b-ball outside of the school
When a couple of guys who were up to no good
Started making trouble in my neighborhood
I got in one little fight and my mom got scared
And said you're moving with your auntie and uncle in Bel Air"

I almost use translator in learning language .Although it has a lot of weakness , indeed, translator helps me a lot!



Excellent article! As a more-or-less bilingual person, I find that it's easier for me to spot when something's an idiom than it is for someone who only speaks one language with any degree of fluidity. One of the most important parts of learning a new language is breaking away from the cultural and linguistic structures that dictate how we speak and write. I would never trust online translators with anything more than single words or very simple combinations!


The other danger with idioms is, even if you translate them right, you might not remember them right. For example, I asked my English speaking husband to memorise one this morning. I chose "L'habit ne fait pas le moine" (literally "The habit doesn't make the monk" but meaning "the clothes don't make the man". At the end of the day, what he remembered was "LE habit ne fait pas le MANE". Not far off, but not impressive in a conversation when you were trying to impress with your knowledge of French. That sort of thing happens all the time: confusing two related words, mixing up the order of the words, forgeting one bit, etc.


I find it is best to learn a language through a lot of input (reading, listening) and using that to learn grammar as a secondary item. Because of this I am able to make very good use of translaters as I am translating to my native tongue (which is really the only direction that makes sense for larger texts) and able to unscramble any nonsensical part of the sentence, and at the same time start seeing the grammar patterns. If I am writing, I use it to check my sentences but never to create them.

Google translate will improve over time to where It will end up being almost as good as human translators. Already it does translate very specific idioms like "You cant have your cake and eat it to" correctly into other languages whose equivalent expression has nothing to do with cake. It is all about the people who work to edit it.



Maybe, Tom! But I had a lesson with a Russian speaker (who did not speak French or English). She tried to communicate by typing in Google translate feverishly and then reading the lines. AWFUL!!! I was supposed to plow through the gibberish to find what she meant. She didn't seem to think there was a problem.


This was an extreme case, but I've met more student who, when struggeling to say something, instead of toning it down, they reach for the key pad and translate lietterally idioms. It NEVER works. They don't realise what they are trying to do so I wrote this for them.


Someone in Québec made a brilliant compilation of awful translations presumably made with online translator. Have a look


Translators are funny. They translate words well, but when it comes to sentences they are disastrous. I remember I was writing my school papers in French and translate them to English. It's so funny to read these papers now. My teachers were certainly asking what was wrong with me. LOL

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