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On line translations

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by JO9832, May 2, 2011.

  1. JO9832

    JO9832 New commenter

    Hi
    Am posting on here in the hope that someone may be able to help me . I am a Primary school teacher currently working as a Nursery teacher. I have 9 different languages spoken in my setting. I am looking to find a programme that will allow me to translate letters to parents and something i could type/speak into that would then 'talk' in the required lanuage as some of my parents are unable to read for example urdu but speak it. My concern is obviously that the translations are correct and if i need to buy a programme keep the expense to a minimal . I have some languages ie Georgian that are so hard to find 'real' translators for and the LEA can only pay for this so often . I have of course where possible used other parents to interpret for me . I just feel so sad when people turn up when school is closed or an event is happening just because we cant understand each other.

    Many thanks

    Jo
     
  2. JO9832

    JO9832 New commenter

    Hi
    Am posting on here in the hope that someone may be able to help me . I am a Primary school teacher currently working as a Nursery teacher. I have 9 different languages spoken in my setting. I am looking to find a programme that will allow me to translate letters to parents and something i could type/speak into that would then 'talk' in the required lanuage as some of my parents are unable to read for example urdu but speak it. My concern is obviously that the translations are correct and if i need to buy a programme keep the expense to a minimal . I have some languages ie Georgian that are so hard to find 'real' translators for and the LEA can only pay for this so often . I have of course where possible used other parents to interpret for me . I just feel so sad when people turn up when school is closed or an event is happening just because we cant understand each other.

    Many thanks

    Jo
     
  3. noemie

    noemie Occasional commenter

    Could you perhaps identify the top 30 sentences you'd most like to use (e.g. Please attend a meeting at school on Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday etc, Please phone the school, Please fill in the reply slip etc) then use the LEA translators/parent volunteers to create that bank of phrases? You could then have the letter in English followed by the summary in the target language typed by the office (if you use excel you should even be able to do a mail merge to save time).
    Google translate now has a text-to-speech tool in a few languages, so if you're sure of your text you can make it say out loud. But I agree with other posters regarding translating from English into those languages, it just isn't reliable. I have a Swedish friend who just posted a facebook update and google translate didn't make any sense whatsoever!
     
  4. Noemie's approach, i.e. "You could then have the letter in English followed by the summary in the target language typed by the office", would be diffiicult if you are dealing with speakers of Urdu, Panjabi, Gujarati, Russian, Ukrainian and Georgian as they all use different alphabets - and Polish has a wealth of characters with diacritics. Different alphabets can, of course, easily be generated by computer, but someone would have to be employed to do the translation and make it available for copying and pasting. And this also assumes that the school has the relevant fonts on its office computer. Translating is an area where the uninitiated need to tread carefully, as this hilarious (true) story illustrates:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/7702913.stm
    Regards
    Graham Davies
    Emeritus Professor of Computer Assisted Language Learning
     
  5. mpillette

    mpillette New commenter

    Only last week a secondary colleague told me about a pupil who had used a translation programme to write an entire piece in French about his father making blinds for a living: "des aveugles à rayures" - and more...
     
  6. JO9832

    JO9832 New commenter

    many thanks to all who responded it has certainly given me food for thought. I teach in an area of multiple deprivation and many of my parents are very hard to reach. I take the point about people learning Englsih but many wont try or even attend ESOl which is provided free and with free childcare. I was just hoping if i could attempt to communicate it may push them to try in English .
    Jo [​IMG]
     
  7. I like the bank of phrases idea, but, failing that (and more budgetarily appealing), why not write letters in very, very simple English, as you'd use for your little ones who are learning to read and write?
    Don't know if it would work, but anything's worth a try?
     
  8. If you are stuck and don't have the budget for a translator, you can either use google translate which it is very, very good. It doesn't translate word by word, as it is being fed constantly by multiple translators around the world.
    Of course, it is never going to be as good as a real person, and will never be 100%, but I work in a team doing market research and sometimes we need to read articles written in languages we don't know. We use google translate and although not 100% it kind of does make sense
    However, you can always use sites like proz.com, you can send a request for a voluntary job and specify that "it is not remunerated" and I am sure you will get people willing to help you.
     
  9. mpillette

    mpillette New commenter

    Google Translate is indeed better than other online translators I have come across, but no online translator can be trusted 100%. If using one, to be on the safe side my advice would be to:
    - stick to short sentences;
    - avoid idiomatic phrases;
    - use verbs such as 'to arrive' rather than 'to turn up'; 'to reply' rather than 'to get back to me'; etc.
     

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