Multilingual Corpora tools are not easy to found in the world of online translation. Their complexity and non-easy task of offering texts in several languages is one of the reasons. In the following lines, we will talk about how one of them works: Linguee. A translation tool that is gaining ground on the Internet.
Linguee combines an editorial dictionary and a search engine with which you can search hundreds of millions of bilingual texts for words and expressions. Linguee itself is not an automatic translation machine, it cannot translate as other translation tools do. In fact, what it really does is to show results from the editorial dictionary and professionally translated texts available on the Internet in two or more languages.
You can search for single word-translations, but Linguee is highly useful when we want to look for expressions, idioms and set phrases. Some other translation tools just translate the words or phrases literally, but as Linguee searches for real human-made translations, the success of translating in contextual texts is highly assured.
Let’s see how it works:
- Searching for expressions: ‘right away’ . English > Spanish
- Searching for idioms: ‘jugar con fuego’. Spanish > English
- Searching for set phrases: ‘speak of the devil’. English > Spanish
On one hand, we can see on the left side the results given by the dictionary. In the first two options, we can see that Linguee gives us the exact definition for what we asked, in the last example, Linguee does not found any match, so it shows us non-exact matches that look closely related to our words.
On the other hand, in the right side, Linguee offers us the different translated texts containing the expressions or phrases: For the first two expression, Linguee did not have any problem giving us the correct solution, “Right away> de inmediato” and “jugar con fuego> play with fire”, in the proper contextual texts. However, with the last example, the results are not so accurate. Linguee has directly translated “speak of the devil” to “
nombrar al diablo“, when in an appropriate context it should have meant: “hablando del Rey de Roma”.
In conclusion, Linguee is a unique translation tool that has made an improvement in the world of online translation:
- It is a useful tool when we want to see expressions in different contexts and appreciate how they have been translated by other people.
- It helps us out when we want to look for idiomatic expressions, something that other translation tools do not give the possibility to do so, due to their limitation in understanding the context of languages.
- But, Linguee is still a machine and cannot yet be compared to supervised human translation, even if it displays professionally translated examples.
- It is not an automatic translator, it cannot translate complete texts.
Nevertheless, Linguee gives us the chance to contribute and improve the quality of the translations:
- We can suggest new translations.
- Rate the quality of the translated sentences.
- Provide additional information and improve wrong dictionary entries.
Besides, Linguee is available in English to German, Spanish, French or/and Portuguese. Thanks to its rapid growth is also currently working in many other languages such as Russian, Japanese or Greek. But that is not all, it also suggests other word combinations, warns us about possible wrong translations and offers information about how often our queried word has been translated into the exact match.
To discover more, you can check out the following video presentation or try Linguee by yourself!
- Common expressions English to Spanish. Retrieved May 28, 2014 from http://www.ctspanish.com/words/expeng.htm
- Expresiones con verbos claves – Verbo “to set”. Retrieved May 27, 2014 from http://www.shertonenglish.com/resources/es/idioms-phrases/idioms-set.php
- Heim, A. (2012). Bye bye Babel: Breaking language barriers online. In TNW. Retrieved May 27, 2014 from http://thenextweb.com/media/2012/07/15/bye-bye-babel-breaking-language-barriers-online-2/
- Lardinois, F. (2010). Linguee Brings Translation Dictionaries into the 21st Century. In ReadWrite. Retrieved May 29, 2014 from http://readwrite.com/2010/09/09/linguee_online_translation_dictionary_english_spanish_german_french#awesm=~oFGQToo4kgZiDU
- Tohoku University. Multilingual Corpora. Retrieved May 28, 2014 from http://www.sal.tohoku.ac.jp/ling/corpus2/2multi.htm
Published and written by Leila Rakib. May 30th, 2014.