I use Google Translate nearly every day, but only for their Persian keyboard. Most of the actually translated content that Google Translate returns is simply wrong. I’ve written before about how relying on Google to translate complete thoughts is a bad idea, but there is also a way that you can help make it more useful and make the translations you get from the site more accurate. You can use the “Translator Community” feature of Google Translate to not only help Google, but you can also help your own language skills by getting introduced to novel phrases and validating the translations of those phrases.
The most typical means of correcting a Google translated phrase is by entering in the target sentence or sub-sentence unit and seeing if the translation provided is correct. In the example below, you will see that I have entered the target segment into the program and the translation it returned is horrendous:
Since اینجا کاملش میکنند does not translate to “Here are the full”, this translation requires correction. In order to enter in the correct translation, click on the “Wrong?” button on the bottom right corner of the English side:
After you’ve indicated that the translation is incorrect, you’ll be able to edit the content in the English side and enter the corrected translation. Once you’ve done this, the text will be blue. One annoying part about this entire process is that even after you’ve entered the corrected translation into Google Translate and regardless of how many times you’ve done so, the next time you type this same term into the program, it will spit out the same incorrect translation. This is why validating translations is an important piece of this puzzle.
This is the part in which you’re not just helping Google Translate, you’re helping your language skills. The translation validation process allows Google’s users to validate the correctness of a suggested translation. The step above was simply recommending that a given translation be saved into Google’s Translation Memory. This translation memory is simply a corpus of previously translated text that can be drawn upon the next time that text needs to be translated. The validation process prevents incorrect translations from being entered into the translation memory, but it can help you by giving you the opportunity to see what various forms a given phrase has been translated into by previous user suggestions and it will introduce you to unique phrases you may not have considered in that target language before.
In order to get to the validation part of Google Translate, go to translate.google.com and click on the highlighted section below: If you don’t see this image, then you can also enter translate.google.com/community into your browser.
Once you’re into the community section, choose your language pair (e.g. Persian into English, English into Spanish, etc.) and select to either translate or validate. Validating is easier than translating in general and it will show you the various ways that users have suggested to translate a phrase and will introduce you to unique phrases that are sometimes very random.
This is not the best method of language study, given the fact that many of the translations that you will encounter will be blatantly incorrect, but it is at a minimum a very entertaining method that will introduce you to a wide variety of phrases and terms. As I mentioned, the translate portion of the translator community offers more of a challenge and a better language practice opportunity than the validate portion does. Both include the option to skip over a term or phrase if you’re not comfortable with your ability to translate it or validate a translation of it.
Now that you’ve seen how a generally terrible translations program can not only be improved but can help you improve, the only step left is to get out there and do it.