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874 Views 10 Replies Last post: Jan 6, 2018 10:39 AM by walton RSS
Level 0 107 posts since
May 31, 2017
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Nov 30, 2017 6:36 AM

What is a good online English to French translator

I know that this is not a tech question, but it does have to do with formatting the interior of my book. I have several phrases that I need translated from English to French. I have tried a few online, and get different results each time. Is there a good, reliable online English to French translator?

Thanks

Dan

Level 5 13,066 posts since
Aug 22, 2008
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1. Nov 30, 2017 9:04 AM in response to: thestoryguy
Re: What is a good online English to French translator

I believe most people who are fluent in both languages would agree that none of the online converters are reliable for this purpose. Assuming the content is something that can be translated literally (i.e., not figurative or metaphorical), the translation will be good enough to grasp the essence of what was written in the original language, but it will not be phrased the way a person who speaks that language would say or write it. If the content is symbolic or figurative, the translation is likely to miss the mark entirely.

 

It sounds as if you're talking about relatively short passages, in which case, it should be reasonably affordable to use the services of an actual translator -- and the results would certainly be better. If that's is not possible, however, I would recommend citing (on the copyright page or in a disclaimer) the translation software or website used -- just in case you inadvertently get something that's offensive or embarrassing.

Level 5 19,560 posts since
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2. Nov 30, 2017 10:18 AM in response to: thestoryguy
Re: What is a good online English to French translator

I agree with Lighthouse.  I would add that an important aspect of translation is getting a back translation.  For example, you go from English to French.  Now, translate the French back into English (the back translation). In the case of online translators, I would use several programs, checking one against the other.

 

Walton

 

Bleeds,  free, 91 page guide to bleeds, margins, covers, and annotated CreateSpace guidelines. Prepress Glossary: free, 79 page, fully illustrated prepress glossary with annotations for  CreateSpace users Type & Typography: free, 112 page illustrated guide to designing books, typography, with glossary, and type specimen pages  Free: list of free PDF downloads; selfpublishingforum: spam free forum. Contact  for graphics, design, and typesetting help.

 

 

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3. Nov 30, 2017 10:25 AM in response to: thestoryguy
Re: What is a good online English to French translator

I agree with Lighthouse24 and Walton, because I'm an agreeable type, but online translation should be fine for words and short phrases.

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5. Nov 30, 2017 5:28 PM in response to: thestoryguy
Re: What is a good online English to French translator

FYI, one service I know that writes subtitles for films always assigns two human translators to each job, one for each language. I assume the speaker of the original language can produce a decent enough translation on their own, but the speaker of the destination language has a native's finer grasp of idiom, local variations and trends. Were they ever required to translate one language's colloquialism to another language's colloquialism I guess they would have a good chance of hitting the nail on the head, as it were.

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6. Dec 2, 2017 8:15 AM in response to: thestoryguy
Re: What is a good online English to French translator

I agree with the preceding responses: you need to pay someone who is skilled in both languages, ideally a professional.  There are too many traps for the unwary.  To see for yourself, find something in French on the internet, translate it through Google into English.  You'll notice that at best the translation is a bit stilted or strange, at worst there will be major mistakes.

 

In short, Google and others can be good enough to get a pretty good idea of what something means in a foreign language, but not good enough to translate a book you're going to sell.

Level 5 15,707 posts since
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7. Dec 2, 2017 3:28 PM in response to: thestoryguy
Re: What is a good online English to French translator

I've recently published an English to Spanish translation. You can't rely on online translators as they are too literal and the meaning can be interpreted differently. Plus, for fiction, you can distort or lose completely any metaphorical content.

 

I chat with my cousins in South America on Facebook, and the translations are weird. I get the gist of what they say to me, but I'm a bit embarrassed by how the online software might mince my replies to them.

 

As others have said, hire a professional human translator to do the job -- it's the only way to get a good quality result.

 

 

Michelle

-—--—--—

Odyssey Publishing -- editing, cover design and book formatting services to help you on your publishing journey.

 

Odyssey Books -- quality fiction and non-fiction -- where books are an adventure!

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8. Dec 12, 2017 10:56 PM in response to: thestoryguy
Re: What is a good online English to French translator

The online translation tools are getting better and better but if you cannot proofread what they translate, it is still quite dangerous. It can also give some crazy results. If it is only few sentences, you can find a freelance translator that can do it for you. It is not really expensive and it assures you that the work is good done.

Level 0 2 posts since
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9. Jan 5, 2018 4:08 AM in response to: thestoryguy
Re: What is a good online English to French translator

Try Reverso, which is awesome. Reverso is able to understand partially the context of the sentence or sayings.

 

Good luck!

Level 5 19,560 posts since
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10. Jan 6, 2018 10:39 AM in response to: Krotekoker
Re: What is a good online English to French translator

As you said, "Good luck."

 

Many years ago, Advertising Age had a mock contest for the best/worst back translations.  One I remember was Dove Bar.  Translated into French then back into English became: Pigeon on a Stick.

 

So I tried Reverso:

Dove bar became Barre(Bar) de pigeon

Barre de pigeon became Bar(Helm) of pigeon

 

I think "Good luck" is is a well warrented warning.

 

Walton

 

Bleeds,  free, 91 page guide to bleeds, margins, covers, and annotated CreateSpace guidelines. Prepress Glossary: free, 79 page, fully illustrated prepress glossary with annotations for  CreateSpace users Type & Typography: free, 112 page illustrated guide to designing books, typography, with glossary, and type specimen pages  Free: list of free PDF downloads; selfpublishingforum: spam free forum. Contact  for graphics, design, and typesetting help.

 

 

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