The other day we met a couple in an RV park who were from Germany. We were fascinated when they told us about their 6-month Asian RVing experience (I wrote about it in this personal blog post) and we looked up the website for the caravan company they used to learn more. The website is www.mir-tours.de. If you understand web addresses, you may have noticed the .de at the end. That means Deutschland and the website is in German. I couldn’t learn anything from that! After a while, I did notice the symbol of the British flag in the corner. When I clicked on that, it took me to the English version of the page. But, what if the website didn’t have it’s own translation?
Translating one language into another is a great use for computers, and I’m going to tell you about two websites that offer this service for free. But first, a word about translating in general. If you’ve ever tried to learn a foreign language you know that there is no such thing as direct translation, so a machine-based translation will always be imperfect. The famous example of machine translation is taking the poetic quote, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” When translated into Russian and back to English it becomes, “The Vodka is good, but the meat is rotten.” Not quite the same meaning!
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