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Discover the Best Translation Resources For ESOL Students

By Daniela, published on 04/08/2017 Blog > Languages > ESOL (English) > What are the Best Online Translators for Learning English?

We all know that translating into your mother tongue or into English can be extremely difficult, whether it is a short phrase or a long paragraph, the translation process is never easy. However, luckily with the help of technology and online English tools, translating is becoming easier and easier. Every day these tools are evolving to produce more natural translations.

Why are online translation tools useful?

  1. Time saver: rather than having to take the time to translate a text yourself, you can use one of these tools to obtain the translation in less than a second! It may not be accurate, but you’ll understand the gist of the text.
  2. Easy to use: for the majority of online translation tools, the websites are very easy to navigate around.
  3. Many languages available: nowadays, more and more languages are being added to translation websites.
  4. The majority are free!

Google Translate

We are all familiar with Google Translate, it is the biggest and oldest online translation tool out there, its technology is becoming increasingly advanced. It’s efficient and is a lot more precise than other online translation tools. Discover the best apps for learning English on your phone or tablet.

You simply go onto www.translate.google.co.uk and type in the word or phrase you wish to translate into the left-hand box, it then generates a non-human translation in the right-hand box. Pretty straightforward, right? 

For example, let’s use a simple English phrase to French:

Use Google Translate as a tool to learn English! A simple and short phrase is easy to translate on Google (Source: www.translate.google.co.uk)

This translation is accurate and correct, it has followed the conditional rule with the correct spelling and vocabulary.

However, now let’s try and translate more of a complicated and longer phrase:

Google translate is not great for long phrases to learn English So, Google Translate is not always correct! (Source: www.translate.google.co.uk)

This translation is wrong in many ways! It is unnatural and just completely wrong. Non-human translators aren’t great as they can’t gauge the exact meaning.

On the other hand, to translate small and simple phrases, Google Translate is perfect as it is fast and efficient!

It is available to download on iOS and Android for free of charge, so if you’re traveling to an Anglophone speaking country and are stuck with simple translations, such as, “Where is the toilet?” or how to correctly ask for the bill in English, then go onto Google translate and you’re sorted!

Linguee

Linguee has been online since 2007 and is available in many languages, of course including English! It is the translation student’s go-to website.

Online Translators are always great to obtain quick translations Use Linguee to obtain quick and precise translations (Source: www.linguee.com)

How does it work?

Linguee is a very a unique translation tool. It uses a search engine that allows access to hundreds of translated source texts, also known as sentence pairs. It browses the web to find bilingual texts, words, and expressions. It also takes into consideration the context and produces a variety of choices.

It is a lot more accurate than Google Translate as it generates translations already completed by a native speaker of the target language, so you could think of it as a translation memory.

You simply type in the short phrase or expression you wish to translate and Linguee comes up with many different translations. The highlighted part is the translation:

Linguee is perfect if you're a translation student An example of all the different translations Linguee can come up with, the first ones are normally the most precise (Source: www.linguee.com)

However, Linguee is not efficient for the translation of long texts. You can only really translate small phrases and expressions. Below we have taken this rather long phrase: “Yesterday I missed my bus and I was late for work. My boss w” and tried to translate it into French.

 

Linguee is not great for long translations Linguee only allows you to add a maximum of 12 words at a time (Source: www.linguee.com)

 

However, we are can only add a maximum of 12 words into the search bar, which already shows that Linguee is not suitable for long translations.

 

Linguee is not always great to translate long paragraphs The paragraph has not been translated, only a few of the words have (Source: www.linguee.com)

 

On the other hand, Linguee is excellent for translating vocabulary. The search engine comes up with a variety of synonyms of the word and it also gives the “rarer”. In this case, we have used the word “allow” and there are a whopping 12 translations! This search engine is a great substitute for a bilingual dictionary!

This search engine is a great substitute for a bilingual dictionary! 

If you're looking to translate vocabulary, visit Linguee to get a variety of translations Linguee is excellent for translating vocabulary (Source: www.linguee.com)

Bing Translator

Developed by Microsoft in 2009, Bing is perfectly capable of translating single vocabulary words, but like Linguee, it struggles to translate long phrases of more than 12 worlds. It has an excellent voice detection feature, where you simply say the sentence you need translating and Bing produces the translation. There is no need to type.

Bing Translator is extremly similar to Google Translate, they have more or less nearly the exact same features. 

Bing allows the user to translate sentences as well as an entire web page by using the “Translate this page“, but this is not nearly as accurate as a human translator. It does not take into consideration the context, whereas Linguee does.

Like Google Translate, Bing also has a unique feature which is “auto-detection“, it detects the language that needs translating automatically. You may need a sentence or a paragraph translated but you cannot identify the language, well Bing and Google Translate can do that for you!

Bing is perfect if you're looking to translate into English from your mother tongue and vice versa By using its “auto-detection”, Bing is aware that the language is English (Source: www.bing.com/translator/)

The design and format of the website are pretty straightforward. Like Google Translate, Bing has two rectangular boxes, in the left box, you enter the phrase or word that needs translating and the right box shows the translation within a second.

Systran

Systran offers a translation software in 15 different languages, of course including Shakespeare’s language, English!

This website is extremely common amongst translation students due to its accuracy. However, when it comes to translating English expressions and sayings, Systran is not that efficient, unlike Linguee.

Systran is great for translating short and snappy phrases Translating expressions does not prove to be easy for Systran (Source: www.systran.com)

As you can see, Systran translated the first sentence perfectly. However, it all went downhill when it translated “if I’ll be in work” and the “Drop me a text” was also mistranslated. So, again, with Systran, we face the problem that it is a non-human translator, so it is unable to understand the context of the sentence and cannot translate common expressions.

This online translation tool also comes up with a built-in business and computer science dictionary. You can also add your own dictionary, for example, Systran may not recognise the word “iMessage” so it may come up with an error. However, this tool lets you add it to your dictionary so it recognises it in the future.

Furthermore, Systran also has a dictionary feature, where you can search for any word and it browses the web for possible answers.

Systran is great for vocabulary translations Throw away your paper dictionary and turn to Systran for an accurate translation and definition! (Source: www.systran.com)

Systran also has a feature where you can translate a web page into the language of your choice. For example, let’s take www.superprof.com as an example. You simply insert the link into the box, click “translate” and the translated version will open in a new tab:

Conclusion

We must understand that online translation websites are not always correct and accurate, at times they can be completely incomprehensible. They are perfectly capable of putting words together and finding a translation for a single word, but they are incapable of understanding the sentence and its context, making it difficult to produce a natural and precise translation.

However, as we have seen, online translators can save the day. You don’t want to waste your time flicking through various bilingual dictionaries to translate a string of words, after all, time is money. Nowadays, online translators can do the trick for you, within a second.

Overall, it is safe to say that Linguee is probably the best online translator if you’re looking to translate short phrases, expressions, and vocabulary. Unlike the other online translation tools we have seen, Linguee offers human and natural translations, so you’ll always obtain the right answer.

If you’re a translation student, Linguee is the website for you! 

Nowadays, online translation tools aren't that accurate. However, with the help of technology, they are improving daily. Will technology overtake human translators one day? Source Via Visual Hunt

Online translation websites are not yet suitable for translating phrases to do with medical equipment and aviation manuals, which requires 100% precision, which can only be completed by a real human translator.

However, technology is overtaking the face of the earth, let alone translation tools! If Listening is the way you learn best, Check out these podcasts for learning English. You can also find English tutors and ESOL classes on the internet.

Or, if you are searching for face to face lessons, you can find English courses in London and throughout the UK with Superprof tutors.

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