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Free Spanish to English Translation Programs

February 18, 2010

Many people needing to have something translated think that using free Spanish to English translation programs will give them what they need. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Translation programs, whether online or otherwise, are not meant to replace translators. While many translator like to argue that translation is a science and merely a transfer of one language to another, this is not the case. Translation is an art, and a translator’s role is to take a document written in one language and make sure that the ideas and feelings that the source text evokes are evident to the same degree in the target language text.

This is easier said than done. Translators have to be fully equipped with dual language skills, but they also have to have a good command of the culture of both languages. Another thing they have to know is how to use the languages and the two cultures to translate not just the words, but the feelings and emotions.

The problem with free Spanish to English translation programs is that while they might do an OK job of translating a document word for word, this is where they end. First of all, the grammars of different languages are not the same. English and Spanish, for example, have very different grammars and so it’s impossible to translate word for word. Another problem with free Spanish to English translation programs is that they don’t have any (or not very much) cultural information built into their translation systems. As I mentioned earlier, this cultural information is important when translating complex ideas that have to go across cultures.

There are some instances where these types of translation programs are able to do an OK job, but always remember that if you really want a good translation job done, don’t settle for a free Spanish to English translation program. It won’t get you what you need, and will just cost you more time in the long run.

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