What are some translation software

Translation software - what good are the free tools?

Only death is free, they say. This is especially true in advertising. The "iconic glass bottle" from a large beverage manufacturer may be on purpose and was certainly not a good slogan. But some "Denglish" word formation up to atrocities suggest that the professional translator was saved. You can just as easily send the intern to the website of Babelfish.de, the Google Translator (Translate) or the Microsoft Bing Translator.

Online, these machine translation (MT) or machine translation (MT) tools are actually free of charge, which does not mean that they are useless or of cheap quality per se. The results can sometimes really be seen. Product tests by the Computerwoche sister publication PC Welt and other magazines have shown that the free or cheaper translation programs are sometimes better than others for several hundred euros.

MT-Tools provide the raw translation

Of course, many of these tools are not entirely free if you want to integrate them into CAT systems or other programs. For the Microsoft Translator and Google Translate v2, for example, you need a license or API key that requires you to enter your credit card details or other payment methods. However, significant costs only arise when texts with several million keystrokes are translated each month. Even the rough translation of the Guinness record holder "In Search of Lost Time" by Marcel Proust with around 9.6 million characters would cost less than 200 euros with the Google translator.

The emphasis in MT programs is on the raw translation, which does not mean that it is bad. Funny translation errors circulating on the Internet have been corrected many times, if not all. Even idiomatic expressions such as "he's hot for them" or "it's raining cats and dogs" (it's raining cats and dogs) can often be mastered by the MT tools. However, there can usually be no question of real localization, which US companies in particular place so much importance on.

  1. Leo always at the top of Google
    Leo offers two-way dictionaries online for English, French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese and Polish for general or various specialist vocabulary. The input can be made via keyboard or microphone, depending on the language with more or less success or frustration. The freeware includes a vocabulary trainer that requires you to enter your login data beforehand. You can get advice on search terms in the Leo forum. Depending on the language, the lion takes on a different appearance, as here in Russian. Peristroika is explained in more detail in the Russian section.
  2. Dict.cc with 51 language pairs
    Dict.cc does provide English and German 51 language pairs. There are over a million words in German-English, but only a few thousand in other languages. A special feature of Dict.cc is that you can also download the dictionaries in order to use them offline, another like here on the example of a computer that several translation options are displayed in Latin. The plus version of Dict.cc for 5.94 euros is ad-free and also offers a listing of the most recently searched words, favorites function and vocabulary trainer.
  3. Pons with 12 million words
    The dictionary app from Pons is free and was voted the best of its kind by androidmag.de in 2013 and 2014. For a small annual obulus, the app can also be ad-free. It offers unrestricted access to the translations of the manufacturer's online dictionary, which is also free, and combines 35 dictionaries with over 12 million words and phrases in 14 languages.
  4. Pons and the "Da Vinci Code"
    The online dictionary app also supports machine text translation free of charge, a service that is also available in the app for 23 additional languages ​​such as Arabic and Japanese. The quality of the translation is often comparable to that of the Google translator. The book title “Da Vinci Code” in Chinese and Arabic was translated correctly, even if there is a space missing. Voice input via microphone is also acceptable.
  5. Linguee for whole English phrases
    Linguee is usually at the forefront of Google searches when it comes to translating complex English or German terms and even entire sentences into the other language direction. And it is also available as an app. This offers English-German, German-English a very extensive dictionary. In addition, the “Linguee.com Web-Resulate” area gives you the usual access to a number of sample sentences and further information from the Internet in which the term or phrase you are looking for occurs. To save your wallet and smartphone resources, you can block access to Linguee.com or only allow it via WLAN.
  6. Multilingual Google translator
    A lot has been said about the Google Translator aka Google Translate. This is one of the most popular and probably also the best translation apps. Over 90 languages ​​are supported. OCR (text recognition) with excellent text alignment from Nuance is not offered for all languages, for example not for Arabic, but it is for Japanese and Chinese. The words or sentences are translated immediately in relatively good quality and you can also have them spoken to you. With Greek, the app's text recognition is sometimes a bit difficult. But the Russian notice prohibited for unauthorized persons is recognized.
  7. Japanese 1a
    This Japanese blurb of a classic about the Chinese Three Realms shows the fruits of early pioneering work by Japanese and Chinese developers. The recognition accuracy is excellent both with the more angular Chinese and the rounder Japanese characters and is often better than with pure letter fonts. The Google Translator just doesn't seem to get along with the Chinese names because it thinks "Japanese" here.
  8. Babylon Translator and Babylon Touch
    Multilingual iTranslate
  9. Multilingual iTranslate
    Like Google Translate, iTranslate from Sonico Mobile is a free app in over 90 languages ​​with understanding of individual words, phrases or entire texts. You can type in the part or speak it out loud. The option of having the text read out to you in the other foreign language also includes different dialects for Arabic, Chinese, English, French and Spanish. A very big advantage of iTranslate over other such apps is that in many cases several translation suggestions are displayed.
  10. The mobile interpreter iTranslate Voice
    In addition to the app just presented, Sonico Mobile has also developed a mobile interpreter that is free for English and German in both language directions and can be opened as a pro version for 42 languages ​​and dialects for a small fee of 2.99 euros. The app not only translates the text, but also reads it aloud in the respective target language. So you can work on your own pronunciation. Different dialects of individual languages ​​with female or male voices are also supported.
  11. Q Multi Language Translator
    In addition to a language translator, Nyxcore also offers the so-called Q Multi Language Translator, which, as with some image lexicons, allows the same term or sentence to be translated into several languages ​​and read aloud. The input can be made via the keyboard or the microphone. With a plus sign below you can choose in advance in which languages ​​you want the part to be translated. The choice of possible languages ​​is amazing. The translation results are also impressive, although they may not always be grammatically correct. But that's normal.
  12. Babbling with Babbel
    Lorenz Heine considered developing his own vocabulary trainer, an idea that the other co-founders spontaneously joined in the unfulfilled desire to be able to learn Spanish online in a playful and effortless way. Babbel.com went online at the beginning of 2008 and today, under the umbrella of Lesson Nine GmbH, based in Berlin and with an office in New York, has over 300 employees from 28 countries, including linguists, native speakers and translators. Without knowing the background, the author of this article also chose Spanish to give Babbel a try. After all, you already knew a few chunks like “olá”, “gracias” and “hasta la vista”. But even with such simple words, the pronunciation trainer wouldn't let anything get away. It would be nice to be able to repeat some exercises elsewhere. Before you start to get bored with the simple vocabulary, sentences are suddenly thrown at you at the beginning that you can hardly understand, let alone repeat. But as the saying goes: “Not demanding is laziness.” Overall, the app can only be recommended because you have the feeling that you are making progress quickly.
  13. 50 languages ​​with a language trainer
    50 Languages, as the name suggests, offers a wide range of languages ​​to learn. There are various categories to choose from in the phrasebook. The free app only has 30 lessons, for example, you can only buy Türkçe for Turkish with 100 lessons for 2.99 euros, and all language courses for 9.99 euros.

Professionals work with CAT systems

Therefore, professional translators are still indispensable. They complain, however, that the MT tools, which were originally supposed to make their work easier, "screw up the prices" if they are still in business at all. After all, the client is often satisfied with the rough translation. After all, everyone only cooks with water and even professional translations for advertising purposes usually need a lot of revision.

Once you have finally landed a "job" as a translator, the client will usually ask you whether you are working with SDL Trados. It is the leading CAT system for computer-aided (or assisted) translation or, in German, computer-aided translation with an integrated translation memory system (TMS), terminology database and much more.

SDL Trados is almost inevitable

At prices from 695 euros for the Freelancer Edition and 2,595 euros for the Professional Edition, the new SDL Trados Studio 2015 is not a bargain, but it is worth the money. And not just because many clients require the bilingual SXLXLIFF and other Trados output formats. For them there are sometimes free converters. In fact, SDL Trados Studio also impresses with its ease of use and a wide range of functions that other CAT tools only have to a limited extent. The 30-day trial version is free of charge, by the way. The SDL FreeTranslation as an online translation tool (see below) anyway. Integration in SDL Trados Studio is also possible as a cloud service for a monthly fee.