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TIP #35 - This tip was sent on the week: 10th - 16th Apr, 2005

This tip applies to the following programs:

  • ESI Professional

ESI Professional and the Split Function - Part II


There are two ways to split a compound term in ESI, within the Interactive Window. Last week we talked about one of them: using the SPLIT icon in the lower part of the Modifiers Window.

Splitting a term is the equivalent of displaying the meaning of each one of its component parts in a literal way. Thus, this function could be called “Literal” just as well.


We saw that the idiomatic expression “It’s a piece of cake” was initially interpreted colloquially, but then, after the (Literal) button was clicked on, ESI’s interpretation immediately changed to a textual, word for word translation.


ESI’s dictionary is not composed solely of single words. Most entries are compound nouns, phrasal verbs and adverbial locutions, what we call MWEs (Multi-Word Expressions), or Word Clusters. When ESI translates, it not only looks for single-word entries in its dictionary, it looks mainly for Word Clusters (MWEs). Thus, ESI is capable of rendering more real-life translations than most other automatic translation systems. However, since quite a few expressions in the text might also have colloquial options, the results could sometimes be a little bit of a surprise… just as we saw in the “It’s a piece of cake” example.


That’s why using the Interactive System is a must when doing serious translation work. Only the human brain is capable -in theory-- of always interpreting the right meaning in written communication. And even then, the human brain is not right all the time. A simple machine such as a computer needs the aid of the human operator at all times for interpretation of context. That’s why Word Magic has gone to so much trouble in designing a unique Interactive System … found only in ESI Professional.


The idea is: if the automatic translation process did not do a good enough job in the first try, then the solution is to provide a very simple, user-friendly mechanism so that the user can effortlessly and intuitively change the result to his or her desired output, possibly with a single click over the appropriate icon or over the faulty word. We believe that we have accomplished this very thoroughly and that this has placed Word Magic in a unique position among all other translation systems. No one else has such a “live interactive” system.


And now, before we forget: we promised to talk about a “second” way of splitting a MWE.


The second method is quite straightforward: simply select the next meaning tab to the right, the one that has the “broken chain” . This is the same as selecting the verb “be” separately from the rest of the idiom, and has exactly the same effect as “splitting” it, rendering its literal meaning.

You will notice that some of the tabs have closed chains . Others have split chains . The closed chains indicate MWEs. The broken chains indicate that, by selecting them, you will automatically split the MWE. There is, however, one important difference between the “broken chain tab” and the button. We will deal with that next week.

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