Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A Matter of Translation - Altavista's Babelfish

Within the space of three weeks I have been communicating with people who speak French or have had someone send me a message in French. I do not speak French, nor can I read or write it. It is not that I lacked opportunity.
Altavista's Babelfish

It is because I was a 13 year old person who could not perceived that this would be a good thing to study. I and some other ding-a-ling in my class made the point to our French teacher that we didn't know anybody that spoke French and would never meet anyone so why waste our time.

Idiot! This is when you need time travel to go back and whack yourself upside the head.

Which brings me to today's post. I got a message from one of the list serve that was in French. I could make out Lebannon and library but nothing else. This is the blog of the original post: http://bibliban.over-blog.com

I'm interested but can't read it. Not a problem. I visit http://babelfish.altavista.com/

I type in the website or blog address, choose my language and click translate.

It is not perfect. It is a machine translation so I can get about 75 to 80% of the intented meaning of the blog. You also can just type or copy a block of text to get a translation.

I have been communicating with some folks in France and I find that I need to be careful typing English that will be translated by Babelfish.

In a multi-language world it is good to have a back-up at the tip of my fingers.

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