Sunday, July 1, 2012
Beyond Google Translator
On my previous post about ESP I mentioned Google as a possible resource for everyone looking for specific vocabulary. You can do what most people do, and simply Google a term for definitions or images that illustrate what you're trying to understand, and obviously, you can also use the Google Translator.
Many of my students go straight to last option, just to find out what we teachers and all the other more experienced learners already know: Google translation technology is really cool, but when it goes to more specific language things don't work that well.
A good alternative to Google Translator is a very useful tool called Linguee. Basically, it's very similar to other online dictionaries or translators. But there's one huge and essential difference: when translating a word it gives you different extracts taken from the web, so you can actually see the word in different contexts.
Here we have a comparison between these two tools: I wanted to know the meaning of term 'piggyback' when applied to Logistics.
Google Translator showed the following results in Portuguese: "over someone's shoulder"; "to put". As you can see, there's no reference to transport or Logistics.
|Google Translator: just the most obvious results|
Linguee results were a lot more interesting: it showed the most common meaning ("over someone shoulders"), but it also furnished the result that was exactly what I was looking for: "railroad combined transport".
|Linguee: words in context|
Of course, Linguee won't solve all the problems, but it can be a very useful tool for ESP teachers and students, translators or anyone who has to deal with specific terminology.