Sunday, June 13, 2010

Recommended tools for translators English to Chinese

Group work: Google Documents
Online collaboration: Google Documents
English to Chinese crude Translation: Google Documents
Multi Dictionary: Google Documents
Online research: Google Documents

I read with amusement that a Chinese Bridge builder brought MS Word so as to be able to be BACKWARD compatible with others.  Here is my advice, for free!

Google Documents have all the file formats that I can think of - Word, Open Office, PDF.  You don't really need to buy anything if you don't have to.  A word of caution, because of the screwed up complexity of Word, nobody is really 100% compatible.  But if the end result is not individual printed documents for presentation, you don't really need that sort of screwed up complexity.  For example, headers on alternative pages doesn't work.

Also in theory you need to be using the same software so you can make use of the same document template.  For example, the formatting for chapter headings are represented differently in different software.  But I bet many people do not make use of the template formats.  If they want it bold, they just make it bold, or even italic depending on their mood at the time.

Google Docs is designed for work groups online, with or without other Google services.  You and your group can access the documents wherever you have internet access.  Saving is automatic.  All changes are logged and I believe you can retrieve any of the versions.  Word's "track changes" is ancient and laughable.

Google Docs is probably more secure than the average personal computer.  Communication with the server is encrypted when the docs are opened so nobody can ear drop in between.  And you have to break Google security to access the documents.  Breaking into the computer is much easier.

All the Google language tools are integrated into Docs.  So if you find any of the Google tools useful, you are much better off using Docs, saving you many clicks.

The Google translator is bad, but not any worse than the most expensive software.  This is a feature of Chinese rather than the quality of software.  One advantage of the Google translator is that terms are translated via voting.  So you are sure of the most popular translation.  Though this is often the translation preferred by PRC.  As Pakistanis will say, if they all pee west, you drown.

No other translators have access to multiple online dictionaries, and online searches, all integrated.  It's as simple as right clicking on the word.  Dictionaries are useful even though I don't need word clear.  They give you alternatives when the one you have at hand is not perfect.  Online searches make sure you know how other people are using the original and the translated word and phrases.

Now you know Google is more likely to clear the planet than Microsoft.  Google is free while Microsoft tries to extort the most money from users.  Which model do you think is right?

Now some of your predecessors should be declared SP's.  Scientolgy should just be translated to 科學教.  It would have earn you more respect now than jokes about 三達雞.  The one who coined 那可拿 (for Narconon translation - how can you take that?) should be put into the RPF.  I bet no Chinese said anything, or they will be declared SP's.  The joke continued to Criminon.  Nine out of ten will translate it to X明拿.  I like 金明拿 best (take your gold in broad daylight).  But a Scientologist came up with 可明拿, which I think is equally hilarious (can take in broad daylight).  Any dispute in Wikipedia will be won by  可明拿, using two of the three words from the official name of Narconon.  The middle 明 translation is unanimous !  The lack of an official translation do not help.  無犯罪,新生活教育中心等 Chinese versions are useless, totally against the spirit of making up words and terms.

Or, are you predecessors SP's in disguise?

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