Saturday, May 16, 2009

Progress with Translation...

Some time ago I wrote here about Babylon Software, which I'm starting to like a lot, particularly because it is a Swiss-army style tool for translators. Extremely flexible. And the other thing I like is that this company does understand that machine translation is a stupid idea, which only a total geek could think of, who thinks the mind was modeled on a computer chip in lieu of the other way around. Once you get that point, it's obvious how true it is that a computer is a stupid instrument that just under certain conditions can execute certain instructions more efficiently than we can, but only a total moron would mistake this for thinking. So expressions like machine translation and artificial intelligence are a permanent oxymoron, just like smart bombs, or military intelligence.

So, as a company, Babylon is now addressing themselves to making tools to address the needs of translators. For some reason they did retain their machine translation as an option, and I can recommend it anytime you need comic relief. It will give you the same sorts of assinine results as the translation function on Yahoo - another group of nerds who don't get it.

You can configure it anyway you wish, and I like to have both dictionaries, (meaning, synonyms, etc.) in the language of origin, as well as a translation dictionary, and this gives you the tools you need at your fingertips.

The free dictionaries that come with the system are worth what you paid for them, but the actual dictionaries are not too expensive. I am beginning to find this tool indispensable. But, more important than the good dictionaries that are available for the system, and the flexibility of configuring it so they come up to your liking, the ability to customize this system is indispensable. For example I have one or two authors I'm working on whose vocabulary is so unique, that I'm developing my own concordance to their work, as a backbone to a multi-year translation project, using the Babylon Glossary Builder. Considering all of this, this product is indeed remarkable, and if I use it long enough it will become indispensable, especially for these very specialized projects.

Copyright © 2009 Rogier F. van Vlissingen. All rights reserved.