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 TIP #228   This tip was sent on the week: September 27th to October 2nd 2009

Tip #228 - More on True Retranslation (Continued from Tip 227)

Applies to: Text Translator, Professional and Plus Version 5

In our last tip we obtained the following six translations from a free online application on the Internet.  We said that only ONE translation was correct.  Our task is to find out which one. 

  1. The cars back. = Los coches de vuelta.

  2. We back =  Estamos de vuelta

  3. We are back = Estamos de vuelta

  4. We back the car = Estamos de nuevo el coche

  5. We back his project = Estamos de vuelta de su proyecto

  6. He was pushed back against the door= Fue empujado contra la puerta trasera


Since we are attempting to do this without Word Magic’s True Retranslation, the only thing we can do now is to try copy-paste back translation, using the same online software we used to translate the sentences in the first place.

So, let’s copy the six Spanish lines and paste them back into the input box.  Now translate back from Spanish to English. We obtain the following:

   Original Sentences                   Back-translated Sentences

    • The cars back.                                          The cars back.

    • We back.                                                   We are back.

    • We are back.                                            We are back. 

    • We back the car                                       We drive again.

    • We back his project.                                 We are back to your project.

    • He was pushed back against the door     Was pushed against the back door

If we are to trust copy-paste back translation, we can then assume that sentence #1 was correctly translated, since we got back the same original.  Correct?  Wrong!

Now, Sentence #2  was back-translated differently, so we can safely assume that it was translated wrong.  Correct, in this case.  However, can you be sure it was correctly back-translated, or was it a mere coincidence?  You can never be sure!

Sentence #3 was back-translated the same as the original.  Can we assume, then, that the translation is correct?   As a matter of fact, this sentence was the ONLY ONE which was correctly translated to Spanish and then correctly back-translated again into English by the free online application.  However, how can you be sure? 

Sentences 4, 5 and 6 were incorrectly translated.  The translations are miles away from their true meaning. But again… How can you tell?

The point we are trying to make is: the possibility of obtaining the TRUE back translation from an “uncertain” translated output is one of the most important steps in machine translation.  True Retranslation was accomplished for the first time in history back in 2007, with the release of Word Magic Software’s Text Translation series, Professional and Plus Version 5.0. Download a Free Trial Here. It is a totally different experience.


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