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TIP #102 - This tip was sent on the week: 13th - 19th Aug, 2006

102 ESI PRO & Translation Part XVII - Using Interactive Translation

This tip applies to the following programs:

• ESI Professional

The previous example also works for demonstrating another functionality that only ESI PRO has and that has to do with a problem of ambiguity that is typical of Spanish, not English.


We refer to a two-word sequence in which the words are simultaneously nouns and adjectives in both cases.


Maybe with the miniexample “bebé café” this ambiguity is not totally perceived, because the interpretation is unusual. Nevertheless, note that “bebé” is noun and adjective at once: baby or babyish, depending on the context.


Likewise, “café” may be interpreted as an invigorating drink or as a color, coffee or brown, depending on the context.


So, what would “bebé café” actually mean? ¿A brown-colored newborn or a newly-born drink?


The interpretation is totally ambiguous. ESI interprets it as the first one (Brown baby). Other translators interpret it as the second one (Baby coffee).


Maybe this other phrase will exemplify the problem better:


Un preparado químico.


What, exactly, does this expression mean?


ESI STD translates → A chemical preparation (Una formulación química)


Other translators interpret it as → A prepared chemist.

(Un químico profesional muy instruido)


As a general rule, adjectives are placed at the right of the noun in Spanish, but there are many exceptions.


In English, the adjectives are always placed at the left of the noun, and the exceptions are regulated by certain rules, so the ambiguity is much less.


In the case of “Un preparado químico”, either one of the interpretations is valid. Nevertheless, with ESI PRO and the interactive system, we do not have to resign ourselves to only one option. We can have both…


We’ll see how to go about this in the following tips.



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