Recommended software for translating English to & from German

by Heide
(Texas )

I have biological relatives in Germany and want to be able to write to them. Also want to translate their letters to me.

Free on-line translators and inexpensive translation software I've used in the past does not translate accurately!!

What is your recommendation for a highly-accurate software that I could buy?
Thanks!

Heide, in Texas

Comments for Recommended software for translating English to & from German

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A great reason to learn German!
by: Joanna

Dear Heide

If what you’re looking for really existed, I’d be out of a job!

Machine translation has improved in leaps and bounds over the years, but there’s no real alternative to a proper human translation. There are many reasons why – language is remarkably complex, and so much meaning depends on context. And as texts aren’t usually phrased with future translation in mind, they’re often colloquial, assume an unspoken frame of reference, or are unclearly/inaccurately phrased. I’ve tested several types of machine translation here and it’s clear they’re good for giving you a gist of the meaning, but that’s all.

I’ve never bought machine translation software, but if Google isn’t getting it completely right with their resources, why should any other provider be any better?

Don’t confuse machine translation with translation software designed to help professional translators in the process of translation (you may have heard of Trados or Wordfast, for example). They allow source texts to be translated chunk by chunk (‘units’), and suggest full or partial translations for individual chunks, depending on the translator having translated similar texts either earlier in the same translation or in a previous translation which the software has automatically stored.

My suggestion? Learn some German! Enjoy the challenge, and ask your relatives to consider your language level when writing to you. I bet they’d be really pleased. Here’s a great language learning resource - Learn German Smarter - which should help.

Viel Glück!

Joanna

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