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can anyone recommend any of the commercial translation services that are available on the web? Suppose I wanted to start very modestly, having a simple page of, say, 400 words translated well into three or four standard European languages. I assume you can just email them the text and they return a translation, after charging your credit card, or something like that, yes? I have no experience with this, so would appreciate pointers.
It works as you describe, but there is usually a choice between just translating the text itself and having the HTML-markup done too. The latter costs more for some reason. Don't forget to include title, meta description, long and short directory descriptions in the manuscript to be translated.
Note, that in the country discussions here at WebmasterWorld, there is an overview starting the discussion for each country and at the bottom of that, there is a header about local people who can help with translations and SEO stuff. In some of the discussions, WebmasterWorld members have been listed, so you might want to check these out. Just set the box at the bottim of the forum index to "Show all discussions" to see all the countries.
I looked at the listing in Yahoo for translation services and just picked Mendez iTranslator (http://itranslatoronline.mendez.com/itclient/default.asp) as one of the popular ones that seemed to have a good website. I prepared my text of about 500 words and sent it to them as email text in English, to be translated into German. Sent it Saturday; got it back today; perfectly reasonable service. The charge was $88, which I gather is not dirt cheap, but perhaps not too bad; my hope is that it is good quality work. One of the hardest things to tell is whether a translation is idiomatic; I of course have no idea whether it is or not (they may have stuck "your mother wears army boots" in there somewhere for all I know).
Only minor glitch: they emailed the result back as a text attachment which did not render the special characters correctly. I had to hunt through and figure out that % was actually an o-umlaut, and things like that. Not too hard, but certainly not ideal.
I only paid for the text translation; I just now marked up the page myself and added the appropriate language tags. (I'm still not clear in my mind how I should describe some of the navigation, whether in English or German.) I also added <LINK> elements in the <HEAD> so if your browser suppports those you should see them.
Another uncertainty was how to handle quotation marks. From browsing German websites I see that most places have adopted (decayed to?) the US standard "" system. I'd like to use whatever would be standard in good academic publishing in German, whether > < or 66 99, but will have to check some printed texts to see what is best (don't have any at hand at the moment).
So, here's what you can get for $88:
If anyone sees any egregious errors I'd be glad to hear about them.
I was a bit surprised that "The Collegiate Way" and "Residential Colleges" had no German expression to describe them. Germany has had universities for 600 years or so, one would have thought that a word or two might have surfaced in all that time.
$88 for for 500 words seems high compared to what Arlecchino is offering ($0.055 per word, English to German or $27.50 for the job. I think they had a link in the discussion I pointed you to. Seems that shopping around is necessary.
Do tell us in a couple of months or so, how this worked out in the German SE:s.
Just so you can sleep well tonight...
No kidding - thank you! One of the funniest things in the world is to read poorly translated text in your own language, so even if it turns out to be no good maybe I'll give some Germans a good laugh.
Couldn't find anything about "your mother wears army boots" or similar anywhere.
I was a bit surprised that "The Collegiate Way" and "Residential Colleges" had no German expression to describe them.
Yes, I probably scared the translator off on that one with the notes I attached to the text. The phrase "collegiate way" is actually a quote from an early American author who said students should be brought up "in a collegiate way of living" - I noted that, so the translator probably left it in English.
"Residential colleges" is also a technical term, in fact, and I have to investigate how to translate it idiomatically. "College" is a tricky word that isn't even used the same in American and British English let alone other languages (whereas "university" pretty much means the same thing everywhere). "Residential colleges" of my particular type are being established for the first time in Germany at the new International University Bremen this year ([iu-bremen.de] ). But their website is in English (!) so I can't tell what German phrase they use for this (maybe Hochschulen, maybe a variant of College).
$88 for for 500 words seems high
Yes, I think it may be; some of the other popular places listed on Yahoo were about the same; a few were cheaper, as were people who offered services here. I don't anticipate doing this kind of thing very much; probably just that same page into two or three more languages and that's all. So I thought I would try this method once, and then try something else for the next one.
But here's an important piece of advice for anyone who gets a page translated: *never* feed your translated page back through Babelfish or another automatic translator to see how it comes out in English. I just tried that and boy is it scary! =:-o
try feeding it into Japanese and then back to English...it goes beyond scary into abstract poetry :)
One of the first computers ever to do machine translation was unveiled before an admiring audience of executives and politicians. The inventor asked for an English sentence from someone to translate into Russian, and then back into English. Someone proposed "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak."
In goes the sentence, light blink, wheels turn, a Russian phrase appears on the screen, more lights blink, more wheels turn, and then the Russian comes back into English: "The Vodka is good but the meat is rancid."