ONLINE TRANSLATORS: GREAT EVIL OR HELPING HAND? (Онлайн переводчики: великое зло или помощник?)

XI Международный конкурс научно-исследовательских и творческих работ учащихся
Старт в науке

ONLINE TRANSLATORS: GREAT EVIL OR HELPING HAND? (Онлайн переводчики: великое зло или помощник?)

Елина С.Д. 1
1Государственное учреждение образования "Могилевская городская гимназия № 1"
Цыркунова Ю.В. 1
1Государственное учреждение образования "Могилевская городская гимназия № 1"


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INTRODUCTION

 

During our lessons of English we do different tasks. One of them is translating texts from English into Russian. It takes much time and effort, so sometimes we want to use online translators.

So we decided to do this research to understand, what is more convenient – to use online translators or to translate the texts with the help of dictionaries, what types of texts can they translate and if all the online translators are similar or not.

So the main aim of our research is the analysis of work of online translators and their comparison with the translation of a person.

The tasks of the work are:

1. to collect some information about the history and types of online translators;

2. to translate texts of scientific style, narrative style and the piece of poetry with the help of several online translators and by ourselves;

3. to compare the result of work of online translators and of human work;

4. to single out the negative and positive moments about the result of work of online translators and of human work;

5. to make some recommendations how to translate poetry well.

The hypothesis of our work is the though, that online translators translate texts from English into Russian faster, but the quality of result is lower than the quality of person’s translation.

The object of our work is the online translators, while the subject of it is the online translators GOOGLE translator and PROMT.

The methods of our work are description, analysis, comparison.

The results of the work can be used at the lessons of English, when the topic is connected with internet technologies at the lessons of foreign languages and at the elective courses, connected with the translation of texts of different styles or poetry from English into Russian.

PART 1. THE INFORMATION ABOUT ONLINE TRANSLATORS

Before starting to do our research we decided to deal with some theoretical problems, such as looking for the information about the history of online translators and their main types.

The history of machine translation

The first people, who started to think about machine translation, were representatives of ancient Egypt, Babylon, China, etc. The idea of usage of special machines to translate texts from one language into another was presented in the XVII century by famous English scientists G. V. Leibnits and R. Dekart, but it was not developed.

The next stage began in 1836–1848, when Ch. Babbadge made a project of the first digital machine, which could make some analytical operations. But his project was not finished and had not any practical result.

The machine translation became a branch of science in 1947, when the scientist W. Wiver came to conclusion, that it is not difficult to translate the text from one language into another.

He published an article, where he divided the process of translation from one language into another into two stages: 1) translation of the text into intermediate language (it was based on the simplified variant of the English language), 2) making the final translation with the help of lexical and morphological sources of necessary language.

The first success in this sphere was in 1954 and is connected with “Georgetown experiment” with the help of IBM-701. The size of vocabulary was very small – only 250 words, the grammar was represented by 6 syntactical rules. This system could translate only 49 previously chosen sentences.

But, unfortunately, machine translation appeared to be not so easy, as it seemed before. In the middle of 60s scientists came to conclusion, that this field of the research has no future prospect. They returned to it only in early 80s, when the majority of huge electronic vocabularies appeared. They contained not only widely-used words, but also scientific terms and lexical units out of every field of science.

The 90s started as the period of informational progress. This period of time gave the new stage of development to the machine translation. The systems of machine translation developed very fast, because the society was interested in it.

In general, the history of machine translation lasts for more than 50 years, and primitive machine translation programs were replaced by easy to use online translators [2].

The types of online translators

If we speak about online translators, we have to mention, that all of them are quite similar, because they perform the same function – translation of the text from one language into another. But some of them have a wider range of functions, than others. The types of online translators are:

1) those, which have the vocabulary (PROMT, Reverso traduction, InterTran, etc.);

2) those, which have the virtual keyboard (ImTranslator, PROMT, Reverso traduction, etc.);

3) those, which have the spelling check (ImTranslator, Linguatec, BING translator, etc.);

4) those, which have the translation of web-sites (PROMT, WordLingo, Voila, etc.). As you see, such online translators as PROMT, ImTranslator have practically all the functions and are the most universal programs.

If we speak about the number of languages, which can be translated by the online translator, we should name Google translator (more than 100 languages), Yandex translator (more than 90 languages), Bing translator (more than 50 languages).

To sum it all up, we can say, that online translators are quite universal now, they have a wide range of functions and the most developed of them translate from more than 100 languages into others [1].

PART 2. THE ANALYSIS OF USAGE OF ONLINE TRANSLATORS

First of all, we want to mention, that we decided to analyze some online translators. We have chosen two of them, GOOGLE translator [3] and PROMT [6] to compare their translation with the translation of the pupil of the 10th form.

The first of them was chosen, because we asked 100 pupils of our gymnasia, which online translator they use in their work. We came to conclusion, that more than 95% of them use GOOGLE translator. That is why we decided to choose it.

The second was chosen, because PROMT is considered to be very popular among the internet users of different countries [1] and has many functions, which have been mentioned in the previous chapter.

We also decided to analyze the translation of different styles of text. We decided to translate a piece of text of scientific style, of narrative style and a piece of poetry from English into Russian to make our analysis more profound.

2.1 Translation of the text of scientific style

First of all, we decided to choose an occasional piece of text of the scientific style from the web-site www.sciencedirect.com [5].

First of all, we decided to use the online translator GOOGLE. The result you may see if you look at the picture 2.1.

Picture 2.1 – The result of translation of the scientific text by GOOGLE translator

We came to conclusion, that the translation is not ideal. The positive moments of the translation are:

1) the correct translation of the lexical units (ever since – стехпор);

2) the right word order (This paper attempts to identify […] – В этой статье делается попытка определить […]);

3) the correct punctuation (It thus becomes clear […] – Таким образом, становится ясно […]).

We can see such problems as:

1) the wrong usage of tense forms (A brief analysis of the translation process is made […] – Краткий анализ процесса перевода сделан […]);

2) usage of passive voice, which is not typical for the Russian language (A brief analysis of the translation process is made […] – Краткий анализ процесса перевода сделан […]);

3) the wrong word order, which is not typical for the Russian language (Ever since the demise of the grammar-translation method, translation has been frowned upon, or even banned, as a language teaching method. – С тех пор, как прекратился метод грамматического перевода, перевод был осужден или даже запрещен как метод обучения языку).

Then we decided to use the online translator PROMT. The result you may see if you look at the picture 2.2.

Picture 2.2 – The result of translation of the scientific text by PROMT translator

We came to conclusion, that the translation is not ideal. The positive moments of the translation are:

1) the correct translation of the lexical units (This paper attempts to identify […] – Этабумагапытаетсяопределить […]);

2) the correct translation of tense forms (This paper attempts to identify […] – Этабумагапытаетсяопределить […]).

We can see such problems as:

1) the wrong usage of tense forms (A brief analysis of the translation process is made […] – Краткий анализ процесса перевода сделан […]);

2) word by word translation (This paper attempts to identify what, if any, virtues translation may have in the language teaching classroom […] – Эта бумага пытается определить то, что, если таковые имеются, перевод достоинств может иметь в классе преподавания языков. […]);

3) the usage of wrong lexical meaning of polysemic word (paper – бумага, but we need the meaning статья;

4) wrong punctuation (It thus becomes clear […] – Таким образом становится ясно […]);

5) absurd phrases (Ever since the demise of the grammar-translation method […] – Начинаясупадкаметодапереводаграмматики […]).

Then we have done our own translation of the text. Our translation is: “С тех пор, как отменили метод грамматического перевода, перевод запретили и стали осуждать его использование в качестве средства обучения иностранному языку. В данной статье мы делаем попытку определить, есть ли положительные моменты в использовании перевода при обучении иностранному языку. Здесь проводится краткий анализ процесса перевода, реконструкция значений во вторичной лингвистической системе (кодировке), что является отличительной характеристикой перевода. Таким образом, становится ясно, что положительный эффект перевода как упражнения заключается в том, что он помогает понять различную организацию значений в разных языках и культурах”. It is logical and well arranged, but it took us more than 30 minutes to do it, so the usage of online translators is much faster.

If we speak about the general conclusion, the first place is GOOGLE translator, because the level of translation is high, and the translation is quickly. The second place is our own translation with the help of dictionary, because the level of translation is high, but it takes much more time. The third place is PROMT translator, because though its translation is fast, its level is low – it has too many mistakes.

2.2 Translation of the text of narrative style

First of all, we decided to choose an occasional piece of text of the narrative style from the book of Charlotte MacLeod, “The withdrawing room” [4].

We decided to use the online translator GOOGLE. The result you may see if you look at the picture 2.3.

Picture 2.3 – The result of translation of the narrative text by GOOGLE translator

The translation is practically ideal, we can find only a couple of slight problems such as word by word translation ([…] came in all sizes and assortments […] – […] пришливовсехразмерахиассортиментах […]).

Then we decided to use the online translator PROMT. The result you may see if you look at the picture 2.4.

P icture 2.4 – The result of translation of the narrative text by PROMT translator

We came to conclusion, that the translation is not ideal. We can see such problems as:

1) the wrong number (Jeremy Kelling was not more than five years older […] – ДжеремиКеллингбылнебольшечемпятьюгодами, болеестарыми […]);

2) word by word translation (I’ve lived a hell of a lot more satisfying life than the pack of you put together […] – Яжиладскаяпартияболееудовлетворяющаяжизнь, чемпакетВассоединенный […]);

3) the usage of wrong lexical meaning of polysemic word (pack – пакет, but we need the meaning группа);

4) wrong punctuation (Jeremy Kelling was not more than five years older than his nephew Adolphus […] – ДжеремиКеллингбылнебольшечемпятьюгодами, болеестарыми, чемегоплемянникАдольф […]);

5) absurd phrases (Uncle Jem yelled back […] – ДядяДжемвопилназад […]).

Then we have done our own translation of the text. Our translation is: «Кого волнует, что говорит семья?» – закричал дядя Джем. Джереми Келлинг был не более чем на пять лет старше своего племянника Адольфа, но отношения между обширным кланом Келлинга всех были всех видов и ассортиментов. «Я никогда не слушал никого из них, и я прожил чертовски более удовлетворяющую жизнь, чем вся ваша стая вместе взятая». It is logical and well arranged, but it is very similar to the variant of GOOGLE translator, though it took us 15 minutes to do it, so the usage of online translators is much faster.

If we speak about the general conclusion, we have the same result as in the previous experiment. The first place is GOOGLE translator, because the level of translation is high, and the translation is quickly. The second place is our own translation with the help of dictionary, because the level of translation is high, but it takes much more time. The third place is PROMT translator, because though its translation is fast, its level is low – it has too many mistakes.

2.3 Translation of the poetry

First of all, we decided to choose a sonnet 65 of Shakespeare [7].

We have done the translation with the help of the online translators, first of all, but both variants are not so good as we expected. The variant of PROMT translator (picture 2.5) is not good at all, we have word by word translation and can’t see the logic of the poem, some words are even not translated from English into Russian.

Picture 2.5 – The result of translation of the poem by PROMT translator

The variant of GOOGLE translator (picture 2.6) is better, we can understand the meaning of the poem, but it has the same problems, as the previous one – word by word translation (That in black ink my love may still shine bright. – Что черными чернилами моя любовь все еще может сиять ярко), usage of the wrong meaning of the word or group of words ([…] can hold his swift foot back […] – […] удержать его стремительную ногу назад […]), etc.

Picture 2.6 – The result of translation of the poem by GOOGLE translator

We came to conclusion, that only a person can translate a poem from one language into another. So, we have made our own translation of the poem (appendix A) and have prepared our own recommendations how to translate a poem from English into Russian fast and convenient. They are:

1) Read the poem; 2) Pay attention to the sentences the poem consists of; 3) Make word by word translation to understand the meaning of the poem; 4) Read the whole poem in English to catch the main idea; 5) Find out the key words; 6) Pay attention to the word order and tropes.

To sum it all up, we have to say, that online translators can’t translate poetry well and only people can do it easily.

CONCLUSION

Our work is based on the comparison of translating of texts of different styles from English into Russian with the help of online translators and by ourselves. We have made several conclusions.

1. We managed to find out, that the most difficult style of text to translate is the scientific style. Online translators make many mistakes in it. Though usage of GOOGLE translator is more convenient, because our own translation takes much more time than rearranging the text after online translators.

2. The narrative style is easier to translate for us and for online translators. While PROMT makes the translation, which needs rearrangement, the translation of GOOGLE translator and our own translation are practically similar. The usage of GOOGLE translator is more convenient, because it takes less time than our translation.

3. As for the poetry, it is impossible to translate it with the help of internet translators. Only people can do it well. We have worked out the recommendations for translating poems from one language into another easily.

4. Online translators have different level of quality of translation. For example, if we compare GOOGLE translator and PROMT translator, the first one translates texts of different styles much better.

5. Translating texts from English into Russian is faster and more convenient with the help of online translators, though poetry should be translated only by people.

THE LIST OF USED LITERATURE

Обзор онлайн переводчиков. [Электронный ресурс]. – Режим доступа: http://www.primavista.ru/rus/articles/online_translators. – Дата доступа: 05.01.2019.

Переводчики онлайн. [Электронный ресурс]. – Режим доступа: https://www.ph4.ru/dic_translate.php. – Дата доступа: 05.01.2019.

GOOGLE переводчик. [Электронный ресурс]. – Режим доступа: https://translate.google.com/?hl=ru. – Дата доступа: 25.01.2019.

MacLeod, Ch. The Withdrawing Room. [Электронный ресурс]. – Режим доступа: https://www.amazon.com/Withdrawing-Room-Charlotte-MacLeod/dp/0385171811. – Дата доступа: 20.01.2019.

Notes on the use of translation in language classes. [Электронный ресурс]. – Режим доступа: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0346251X82900185. – Дата доступа: 19.01.2019.

PROMT online. [Электронный ресурс]. – Режим доступа: https://www.translate.ru. – Дата доступа: 25.01.2019.

Shakespeare, W. Sonnet 65. [Электронный ресурс]. – Режим доступа: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/50646/sonnet-65-since-brass-nor-stone-nor-earth-nor-boundless-sea. – Дата доступа: 20.01.2019.

APPENDIXA

OUR TRANSLATION OF THE SONNET 65 BY W. SHAKESPEARE

Когда приходит время, то земля

И море, и гранит, и медь истлеют.

То как же сквозь упрямые века

Цвет красоты твоей душевной уцелеет?

Как сладость лета нам с тобой сберечь

От страшной, разрушительной навалы

Седых времен? О чем идет тут речь!

Ведь годы разрушают даже скалы!

Тревожных мыслей горестный поток!

С тобой в борьбе моя душа немеет.

Кто ход часов остановить сумеет,

Чтоб уберечь любви моей нетронутый цветок?

Хоть в чудеса не верю я, но знаю точно:

В стихах моих запечатлен твой образ прочно.

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