Paralink

A Quick Test for the Paralink Online Translator


We ran a short passage from Charles Dickens’s “Christmas Carol”, and its authorized German translation by Julius Seybt through the online translator World Lingo, so now let’s compare it with the online translator from Paralink.

This extract from Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol is taken from the Gutenberg Project (www.gutenberg.org), the first and largest distributor of copyright free eBooks.(We tested the free Babel fish translator and Google translator using a passage from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland).


TIP!:Use the Gutenberg Project as a source of free German English translation – look up classic German texts with authorized English translations, or find German translations of well-known English works of literature, and then compare them.


A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens: Extract from chapter one: Marley’s Ghost

ORIGINAL:

"Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dog-days; and didn’t thaw it one degree at Christmas."


OK, so we’ll test Paralink by taking Julius Seybt’s authorized German translation of this passage and putting it through Paralink to see if we come up with an English version which bears some resemblance to the original. This is what we get:

PARALINK:

"O, he was a true bloodsucker, the Scrooge! Greedy, zusammenscharrender, sticking, more stingy old sinner; hard and sharply like a pebble from which still no steel has hit a warm spark; closed and selfcontent and for himself, how an oyster. The cold in his heart did his old trains solidify, his sharp nose even sharper, his face of wrinkles, his way stiffly, his eyes red, his thin lips blue, and sounded from his croaking voice. A frosty white frost lay on his head, on his eyebrows, on the strong short hair of his beard. He lugged round his own low temperature always with himself; in the dog days he cooled his Comptoir like with ice; to the yule tide he did not warm it around a degree!"


A few comments on this translation:
I love the “old trains” – a mistranslation of “Züge” (in this case it should be “features” – another example of the importance of context where one word may have several meanings), but Paralink does correctly recognize the dog-days as “Hundetage” which World Lingo didn’t.

So again, we’d have to categorise this as a gist translation which would need human intervention and a little retranslation before it is acceptable as a piece of English text. Paralink seems to use a different translation programme to World Lingo although there seems to be no real qualitative difference between the two.

Now for the second stage of our comparison: For you German speakers, here is the authorized German translation of Charles Dickens’ original, by Julius Seybt:

AUTHORIZED TRANSLATION:

"O, er war ein wahrer Blutsauger, der Scrooge! Ein gieriger, zusammenscharrender, festhaltender, geiziger alter Sünder; hart und scharf wie ein Kiesel, aus dem noch kein Stahl einen warmen Funken geschlagen hat; verschlossen und selbstbegnügt und für sich, wie eine Auster. Die Kälte in seinem Herzen machte seine alten Züge erstarren, seine spitze Nase noch spitzer, sein Gesicht von Runzeln, seinen Gang steif, seine Augen rot, seine dünnen Lippen blau, und klang aus seiner krächzenden Stimme heraus. Ein frostiger Reif lag auf seinem Haupt, auf seinen Augenbrauen, auf den starken kurzen Haaren seines Bartes. Er schleppte seine eigene niedere Temperatur immer mit sich herum; in den Hundstagen kühlte er sein Comptoir wie mit Eis; zur Weihnachtszeit wärmte er es nicht um einen Grad.!"


Now we’ll put it through Paralink to see how it compares with Julius Seybt in giving us a German translation of the original:

PARALINK:

“Oh! Aber er war eine knickerige Hand am Schleifstein, Geizkragen! Ein Drücken, reißend, das Greifen, das Kratzen, der Griff, begehrlicher, alter Sünder! Hart und scharf als Zündstein, von dem kein Stahl jemals großzügiges Feuer gestrichen hatte; Geheimnis, und geschlossen, und einsam als eine Auster. Die Kälte innerhalb seiner ließ seine alten Eigenschaften erfrieren, kniff seine spitze Nase, ließ seine Backe schrumpfen, versteifte seine Gehweise; gemacht seine Augen rot, seine dünnen blauen Lippen; und sprach schlau in seiner knirschenden Stimme laut. Ein frostiger Raufrost war auf seinem Kopf, und auf seinen Augenbrauen, und seinem drahtigen Kinn. Er trug seine eigene niedrige Temperatur immer über mit ihm; er kühlte sein Büro in den Hundstagen mit Eis; und schmolz es ein Grad an Weihnachten nicht.”


Ah,ha!: Paralink actually translates "Scrooge" - and correctly - as “Geizkragen”, which World Lingo didn’t. But we’ve lost Scrooge’s heart (Herzen) entirely!

What can we learn from these translations?
Translation is so much more than simply swopping German words for their English equivalents and vice versa.

This is a good example of the need to consider the setting (i.e. context)of the original text. Here the German translator uses borrowed language in order to be true to the text’s setting – in the authorized German translation Seybt has used the French word “Comptoir” to translate Dickens’ use of the word “office”. The modern German translation of office is “Büro” so we can assume that Seybt had a specific reason for chosing the word “Comptoir” - perhaps to reflect the historical setting of the novel?

These German and English translations show just how subtle and complex language can be.

As well as machine translations for short German texts, Paralink offers free email translations, document translations and website translations in a whole host of language combinations. Naturally this is a lead-in for the wide range of translation products and services they aim to sell.

Translation software. such as this will continue to improve and become increasingly useful, but will never match the beauty and coherence of a well considered translation.

Want to know more about what makes a good translation? Check this out.

Now, it’s your turn to try out Paralink,

...or compare it with another free online translator….

Yahoo's Babel Fish Translator
Google Translator
World Lingo

TIP!: If you only want to translate a few words then you may be better off with a free online German dictionary such as my number one favourite, LEO which will give you more detailed information and a variety of alternative translations, depending on context.





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