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TIP #60 - This tip was sent on the week: 2nd - 8th Oct, 2005

This tip applies to the following programs:

  • ESI Professional

How to Add A New Word to the Dictionaries - Part XI - Special Verbs

 

Adding verbs to the dictionary can become a very complex lexicographical exercise. As we probe deeper into the different kinds of verbs, complications start to pop up in layers, like when you peel a huge onion.

 

It would take a full course in “Word Magic’s Verb Handling System” to deal with the different modes that are present in our databases. This is especially true of certain Spanish verbs which we have classified under more than 24 different categories. Some of these verbs would prefer a “me / se / te“ combination of pronouns when this combination appears in the text. Others would prefer a “se me / se te / se le” combination. Others would operate with “se las”. Still others will be picked by ESI when a simple reflexive “se” construction is present, or when there is no explicit subject , or when there is an adjectival predicate, or when there are both direct and indirect objects present… And then, we still have to consider combinations and permutations of these elements and the added difficulty of the different meanings that a single verb can have.

 

For instance, “saw”, as a transitive verb could be either the past tense of “to see” or the present perfect tense of “to saw”.

 

“Vete” can be the enclitic imperative form of “irse (go way)” or the enclitic imperative of “verse (see oneself)” or, still, the simple imperative of “vetar (veto)”

 

One cannot expect to learn in such a short time how to enter just any kind of verb into the dictionary. However, simpler kinds of verbs, such as the ones we saw in last week’s Tip #59, can be safely added by the User, given that he or she takes special care when entering their correct attributes.

 

From this brief introduction, you might just catch a glimpse of the complexity involved in a context-sensitive translation engine such as ESI. ESI has to decide which verb to choose among several entries. On top of that, it has to decide whether to choose the single verb at the root of the phrasal verb (thus making a literal interpretation of your text) or to choose the compound (phrasal) entry and go with the idiomatic meaning.

 

Fortunately, there are ways to force ESI into making the correct choice when it makes a mistake in its default selection. One of these ways is the Interactive Mode, available in ESI PRO. The other one is Translation Memory, available also in ESI PRO, where you can predefine the meaning and translation you prefer. Finally, there is the Add-A-Word mechanism, with which you can add new entries to the dictionary in case you find you’re lacking a particular meaning.


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