Again I traduce

On the southwest side of Chicago

I was curious as to who is actually reading my Blog. So I did some snooping around, I mean some investigating. For some unknown reason, I keep getting hits from Russia. I can’t quite figure it out. My most viewed Blog entry is the one about Enrico Mordini, my Spanish teacher at Divine Heart Seminary. I guess I should go back and actually finish writing it and edit it since so many people are reading it. Now I feel embarrassed that I didn’t fix it up sooner. Another thing that really surprised me was the fact that people in Spanish-speaking countries are also finding my blog. I was wondering how they would read it since I mostly write in English. I went to the referring page and found that an automated translator could actually translate my blog into Spanish with a link on the search engine page. Wow! I mean, ¡Ay, ay, ay! The webpage is automatically translated into Spanish, but very poorly-written Spanish at that. Upon reading the translation, I realized that people in Spanish-speaking countries will think that I don’t know Spanish!

Let me give you a sample of some of these translations. Well, it actually starts out quite well. The title at the top of my blog is David Diego Rodriguez, Ph.D. without an accent mark on the “i” of Rodriguez because otherwise all these strange characters appear and distort my last name thanks to the mysteries of computers and the Internet. However, the translator actually put the accent mark where it belongs! The rest of the translations are rather sad. For example, under my name I write, “¡Hola! ¡Yo hablo español e inglés!” For some strange reason that phrase is translated as, “¡Yo hablo español electrónico español!”, which somehow fails to convey my original message. I suppose if someone really wants to read my blog, they will gladly plod their way through this computer-generated translation.

When my Spanish students write compositions, I ask them to do the best they can. I ask them to write the composition in Spanish right from the start. I know that the student will make plenty of mistakes, but that’s part of the learning process. Sometimes the original text is upstaged by all my corrections in red ink. That’s fine by me as long as they make a valiant effort to write in Spanish. However, I do not want a student to write the composition in English and then translate it into Spanish. That’s double the work! And of course, I can always tell when they write it in English and then use an internet or computer translator. Well, the output hardly resembles Spanish. In fact, in many cases, I cannot even decode what the student wanted to say in the first place. All the words are in Spanish, but the composition is incomprehensible! I always ask the student to rewrite such a composition, “but in Spanish this time.” About the only word that doesn’t lose anything in translation is the English word “no” that also happens to translate to “no” in Spanish. Even an automated translator gets this translation right!