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Translation tips & tricks

There are lots of free translation services on the net, but they all have a problem. The translations are carried out by machine, not humans, and whilst they are very clever programmes, they are flawed. If you don't believe me, translate a piece of well-written English into your own language, it can be a lot of fun. Machines just cannot give you the accuracy a professional human translator will deliver. (来源:英语麦当劳-英语快餐EnglishCN.com)

But, you can take steps to make your machine translations as accurate as possible, therefore reaping the benefits of this valuable technology. By following these tips you should be able to produce consistent and intelligible results.

Be Concise

Remember that machine translation is a computer process that prefers common words and phrases

Start with simple, clear and formal sentences and phrases

Keep sentences short, limiting them to 15-20 words for best results

If a sentence contains multiple ideas/thoughts, break them into one sentence per idea/thought

Avoid unnecessarily complex words and sentences

Write clearly and formally

Word your documents in such a way as to avoid idioms, clichés, colloquial expressions and slang

Consider the literal meaning of words and try to express this instead

Avoid Ambiguity

Try not to use words that have more than one meaning for example:
- Use "movie" instead of "film"
- Use "painting" or "photograph" instead of "picture"

Words ending in "ing" can sometimes be ambiguous, such as "rowing", which can be a noun or a verb. Where possible, choose an alternative

Always check spelling and grammar

Incorrect spelling or grammar leads to translation errors, for example, if a word is spelt incorrectly, the translator will not be able to identify the word.

Include appropriate accents

Always use the correct accent marks in your text.

Be aware of Punctuation Pitfalls

Avoid the use of complicated punctuation marks such as parentheses and hyphens .

Avoid abbreviations or if you need to use them, keep them consistent .

Use articles in front of listed items, for example:
- Instead of: the judge and jury
- Use: the judge and the jury

Do not leave words out

Some words can be implied in everyday use, such as "that, which, who," etc. and are often omitted when writing text - try not to do this as they may be required in the target language.

 
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