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Q: Spelling ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Spelling
Category: Reference, Education and News > Education
Asked by: probonopublico-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 05 Oct 2002 23:41 PDT
Expires: 04 Nov 2002 22:41 PST
Question ID: 73134
Why do so many Google questions have such atroshush spelling mistakes?

And what effect do spelling mistakes have on translation gizmos?
Subject: Re: Spelling
Answered By: angy-ga on 06 Oct 2002 22:46 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi, probonopublico-ga ! 

1. a)Because there is no spell checker in-built into Google Answers.
(I just typed "psell" and "tyoed".)
   b)Because people don't re-read what they typed.
   c)Because people don't touch type, so they're looking at the
keyboard, not the results on the screen.
   d)Because some people can't spell, especially those who learnt to
read by the "whole word recognition" method when it was most popular.
   e)Because English is not the first language for some questioners.

2. In the spirit of scientific enquiry, I went to some translation
gizmos, starting at:

and - since my French is good enough for me to see when the
translation is accurate, typed in:
"I would like this translated into French, please."

Translation came back:
"Je voudrais ceci traduit en Français, svp. "

Very nice. Then I introduced one error:
"I would lkie this translated into French, please."

Translates as:
"Je lkie ceci traduit en Français, svp."
It's reproduced the word it can't understand exactly as entered, but
the grammatical structure and general sens is still sound. So I
introduced a second error:
"I would lkie this tronslated into French, please."

"Je lkie que ceci tronslated dans le Français, svp"

Now it can't associate "into" with a verb, so has understood it in the
sense of "going into somewhere". Now for a third error:
"I would lkie this tronslated into Franch, please."

"Je lkie que ceci tronslated dans Franch, svp."

Since it now doesn't recognise "Franch", it doesn't know it needs to
insert the article "le".

So clearly Babelfish can't adapt for simple typos. A couple of other
tries yielded similar results - excellent translation as long as there
were no mistakes in the English. It couldn't even sort out my business
partner's favourite mistake, "hte" for "the".

Next I tried the same experiment with Linguatec:

This produced the very unimpressive:

"J'ai will comme ça a traduit en Français s'il vous plaît." for the
correctly typed phrase. Not a good effort !

On to Systrans:

(Click on the letter S to translate.) This gave identical results to
Babelfish, which turned out to be not surprising since after a bit of
digging I found Systrans powers, Babelfish as well as Heisoft and

Now for Reverso:

Correct English gave:
 "Je le voudrais traduit dans le français, s'il vous plaît." 

OKish, but "en francais" is better than "dans le francais" and the use
of "Ceci" is beter than "le" which means "it" rather than "this". Its
response to errors was exactly the same as the others.


and Google

both translated accurately and gave the same response to errors as the
other translators. I'm personally unimpressed with the use of svp for
"s'il vous plait". Although it's common usage in writing it could be
confusing for a student or beginner.

So none of the ones I tried - there are others - would attempt to
guess a meaning of a mis-spelling. I suspect they are set up like
this, so that they don't try and "second guess" names such as angy-ga
or Neuschwanstein or Murwillumbah.

Thanks for a fun question - I enjoyed researching it.

Search terms:
"babelfish translation services"
probonopublico-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Great! Fascinating stuff, well researched.

If you have any journalistic inclinations, there's an article lurking there.

Get in before someone else does!



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