Friday, June 18, 2010

French to English: Cars, Part 2

If push comes to shove and you have a very technical document to translate that the client needs yesterday, how do you cope - especially when the generous sprinkling of technical terms prevents you from understanding the document?  My suggestion:  go for "gisting." 

Gisting is a process that enables you to get a rough idea of the subject matter.  One way to do gisted translation is to submit it to machine translation.  The machine will spew out words which, when put together, provide clues on the topic.  This way, you'll be able to look up terminology in the proper context. 

I have the Systran package and while I would never use it to translate an entire document, I would use it on that rare occasion when I'm at a loss.  If, after reading the 5th paragraph, I still don't understand the source language,  I simply turn on my Systran software and let the machine do the work.  Nine times out of ten I get to discern what is being said.

Another way is to let Google help you.  While Google Translate should never be your primary tool, it does give you good gisting possibilities.

There is nothing wrong with Google Translate or machine translation - provided the document is not sent to the client as is. Human intervention is a must.  You'd have to clean it up - and clean up you will because you and I already know that machine translation - if not edited - can be atrocious.  It will make you chuckle, but I don't think your client will be very amused.

In my next post, I'll give you examples of Google translations, and then do some quality control so that the document reads intelligently.

témoin de frein antiblocage ABS service reminder indicator
témoins de feux de direction turn signal indicator lights
témoin de feux de route high beam indicator light
témoin de pression d'huile low oil pressure warning light
témoin de frein de stationnement parking brake
témoin lumineux du système de charge charging system warning light
témoin et carillon de porte ouverte door ajar warning light and alarm
témoin de bas niveau de carburant low fuel level warning light
lampe témoin d'anomalie moteur malfunction indicator light
signal lumineux et sonore de ceinture de sécurité seat belt warning light and chime
témoin de température du liquide de refroidissement engine coolant temperature warning light
témoin du système d'immobilisation immobilizer warning light


  1. That sounds like excellent advice.
    Many thanks.
    Jonathan Goldberg

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  3. Thank you for all your comments, folks!

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