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TIP #36 - This tip was sent on the week: 17th - 23th Apr, 2005

This tip applies to the following programs:

  • ESI Professional

ESI Professional and the Split Function - Part III


When ESI detects an idiomatic phrasal expression (MWE) in your text, it translates it according to its idiomatic meaning.


We saw in the past two tips that you could force ESI PRO to discard this selection and to translate the expression literally by using the SPLIT button. We used the colloquial expression “It is a piece of cake” as an example.


We also said that you could get the same results by selecting the broken-chain tab, which shows up when you select the word “is” in the Interactive Window, in the above example.


Now, there is one important difference between both methods; between the Broken Chain Tab and the SPLIT button.


When you use the SPLIT button, you do not need to have any particular word selected in the Interactive Window. The SPLIT function will automatically browse the whole sentence and “split“the first MWE (Multi Word Expression) that it finds from left to right. With the broken-chain tab, on the other hand, the cursor needs to be positioned on the MWE itself.


Let’s use this other example to clarify this:

My brother will take a one day leave today = Mi hermano se tomará el día libre hoy


If you now click on the SPLIT button, ESI will immediately detect an MWE in your text (marked in red) and will re-translate it literally, thus:

Mi hermano tomará un permiso de ausencia de un día hoy


With the other method, you will notice that the cursor in the Interactive Window is not even pointing at the MWE. It is pointing at “My”, the first word in the sentence:

The word “My” displays a broken-chain tab at the bottom, which indicates that it is not a MWE. If you now select the word “take”, you will notice that ESI displays a closed-chain tab, plus a broken chain tab to the right.

Now you may select the broken-chain tab and obtain the same literal translation which you obtained before, using the SPLIT function.


Notice that the literal translation, even though it is understandable, is somehow awkward and machine-like, whereas the MWE translation reads more like a professional translator would say it.


That’s the whole concept of MWEs: to force ESI to translate more like a human than like a machine. To that end, Word Magic’s dictionary includes more than 225,000 MEWs in all realms of speech.


Once in a while, one of these MWEs might get in the way and ESI will pick up an idiomatic expression when you actually mean a literal one… and that’s when you need to use the SPLIT function.

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