Using Web-Based Automatic Translation Services in Teaching Chinese



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Using Web-Based Automatic Translation Services in Teaching Chinese

Presented to CLTA annual meeting at Washington, D.C. November 17, 2001

Xie, Tianwei 謝天蔚

California State University, Long Beach

txie@csulb.edu
What is Automatic Translation?

Automatic translation (AT) or machine translation (MT) is the use of a computer program to translate input text from one national language to another while maintaining the original document format.


WBAT

With the rapid development of AT, some web-based AT (WBAT) programs appear on the Internet to meet the needs of translating a great number of web pages from one language into another. Some students of foreign languages take advantage of these easily accessible programs to do their homework such as translation assignments. Teachers' reaction to students' use of AT varies. Some favor and some oppose.


Questions

* Is the quality of AT or WBAT good enough for students' learning purposes?

* Should we, foreign language instructors, allow our students to use AT for learning purposes?

* If yes, in what way and to what extent should we use it? If not, what are the reasons to explain to the students?


How WBAT Works

* Web page translation: Users type in the URL of a web page and will get the translated version of the web page in a target language.

* Text translation: Users type in any text (from one word to a paragraph), submit the text and will get the translation.

* File translation: Users upload a created file, submit it to the server and will get the translated version.

* E-mail message translation: Users send an e-mail message to a server and will receive the translated message in their e-mail account.
Quality of AT

A traditional example: 'out of sight, out of mind' was translated as "盲痴

" ('the blind idiot').

[Altavista Babelfish] 在视域外面, 在头脑外面


[Readworld] 看不见, 从头脑
[Transtar] 在视线之外,从头脑中
[T-text] 眼不见心不烦
[Netat.net] 眼不见, 心不烦

Words and phrases

* 'de' phrase

* 'ba' construction

* 'bei' construction


Sentences and Discourses

PCR Lesson 14


Original text


丁云,我问你,你想不想家?

想,我很想爸爸,妈妈。

不想你男朋友吗?

也想。

他作什么工作?

他是大夫。

你有没有妹妹?

我没有妹妹,我有姐姐。

你姐姐在哪儿工作?

她在银行工作,他爱人在书店工作。

她有孩子吗?

有。他们常常给我写信,我也常常给他们写信。

他们好吗?

他们都很好。我告诉姐姐,你是我的好朋友。我姐姐问你好。

谢谢。问他们好。


Chinese to English


The Ding cloud, ask you, you do miss homeland? Thinks, I very think the daddy, mother. 想你 boyfriend? Also thinks. What do he do work? He are doctor. You have do not have the younger sister? I do not have the younger sister, I have the elder sister. Does your elder sister work in where? She in bank work, his spouse in bookstore work. She have the child? Has. They frequently write to me believe, I also frequently write the letter to them.

They? They very are all good. I tell the elder sister, you are my good friend. My elder sister asks you are good.

Thanks. Asks they is good.

English to Chinese


Yun,让我要求你,错过在家吗?

,我在家非常错过。我非常错过我的父亲和母亲。

不错过你的男朋友吗?

并且错过他。

他做什么工作?

他是医生。

你有妹妹吗?

我没有妹妹。我有一个姐姐。

你的姐姐在哪里服务?

她在银行中服务。她的丈夫服务在书店。

她有孩子吗?

,他们给我经常写信。我给他们并且写信。

是他们所有正确吗?

他们是优良。我告诉了我的姐妹,你是我的好朋友。我的姐妹对你说你好。

谢谢。言你好对他们

Summary

* The web automatic translation programs vary in function and quality and they are still immature.

* The automatic translation programs may help students in some activities, e.g. vocabulary and phrase translation, but they are of little help in sentence or discourse translation. The students may be confused sometimes.

* Teachers should be cautious in using the AT services and alert students not to rely on them for learning languages.


How to Use WBAT

* Indirect use:

o Create assignments

o Instructor uses WBAT to get translated version and ask students to complete tasks


* Direct use:

o Create assignments. Send the assignments to students and ask students to use WBAT


* Students' Activities

o Proof reading

o Correcting errors

o Editing text

o Discussion

o Evaluation


Selected Web Sites of Web-Based Automatic Translation Services
Altavista Babelfish by Altavista.com

URL: http://babelfish.altavista.com/

Languages:

English => Chinese, French, German, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish

Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish => English

French => German

German => French

Function: web page and text translation


Automatic Translation Server by AutomaticTrans S. L.

URL: http://www.automatictrans.es/english/registro.htm

Languages:

Spanish => Catalan, Portuguese (Brazil)

Catalan => Spanish

Function: text translation


FreeTranslation by Freetranslation.com:

URL: http://www.freetranslation.com/

Languages:

English => Spanish, French, German, Norwegian, Portuguese

Spanish, French, German, Portuguese => English

Function: web page and text translation

Encoding: Western European (ISO)

Other features: Provides European special letters


InterTran by Translation Experts, Ltd.

URL: http://www.tranexp.com:2000/InterTran

Languages:

English, Brazilian Portuguese, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, European Spanish, Filipino (Tagalog), Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Latin American Spanish, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Welsh

Function: web pages and text translation

Other features: Provides online word selection


Inpaku Translation Service

URL: http://honyaku.inpaku.go.jp

Languages:

Source languages: Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian

Target languages: Japanese, English, simplified or traditional Chinese, Korean, French, German, Italian and Spanish

Function: web page translation

Other features: This service only offers translation of the Web sites linked to the INPAKU Web site.
Golden Beijing Translation Port 金桥译港世界通 by Netat.net

URL:


Chinese version: http://www.netat.net/file.htm

English version: http://www.netat.net/english/index.htm

Languages:

Chinese => English, Japanese

English, Japanese => Chinese

Function: web page, text, file (txt, html and rtf files) and e-mail translation (Send email to mailce@netat.net or mailec@netat.net, the translated version will be sent back to the sender.)

Other features: Chat in your preferred language. The messages will be displayed in both languages (Chinese and English). http://www.netat.net/esalonchat.htm
Readworld 看世界 by Readworld.com

URL: http://www.readworld.com/tran/

Languages:

English => simplified or traditional Chinese

Function: web page, text and e-mail translation (send English e-mail messages to standard@mailtran.readworld.com and the e-mail message will be translated and sent back to the user)
Systranet by Systranet.com

URL: http://www.systranet.com/systran

Languages:

English=> French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Greek

French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Greek => English

French => Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish, Greek

Greek=>English, French

Function: web page, file (uploaded .txt, .rtf, or .html documents) and plain text translation

Other features: Dictionary of personal choice, my terms (choose how to translate, modify or add the terms of your choice)
T-Mail by T-Mail.com

URL: http://www.t-mail.com/

Languages:

English => Simplified or traditional Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish

French => English, German, Italian, Russian

German => English, French, Russian

Italian => English, French, German, Russian, Spanish

Portuguese => German

Russian => English

Spanish => English, Italian

Function: e-mail translation (cc e-mail messages to the server, indicate the source and target languages, the translated version will be forwarded to the receiver)
T-Sail by T-Mail.com

URL: http://www.t-mail.com/cgi-bin/tsail

Languages: Same as T-Mail

Function: web page translation


T-Text by T-Mail.com

URL: http://www.t-mail.com/t-text.shtml

Languages: Same as T-Mail

Function: posted text translation


TranSea 译海 by Altlan Company

URL: http://en.transea.com/

Languages:

English => Chinese

Chinese => English

Function: web page, text and file (txt, html and rtf documents) translation


Transtar 译星 by transtar.com.cn

URL: http://www.transtar.com.cn/transtar/english/edefault.asp

Languages:

Simplified Chinese => English

English => simplified or traditional Chinese

Function: web page and text translation


*The web-based automatic translation services of the above sites are still free at the time of writing the paper.

CLTA 2001, Xie, Tianwei: Using Web-Based Automatic Translation Servicse. of


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