Seven Tips for Better Translation Results

Whether you are using SYSTRAN’s Desktop, Enterprise Server, SaaS or online software, one question our IT Support is asked all the time is “How Can I Improve My Translation Output?” If incorrect or incomplete text or data is input into Machine Translation software, (also known as “garbage in, garbage out”) the outcome will, more often than not, also be incorrect or incomplete.

Here are seven tips to a better result:

  1. Use complete, grammatical sentences – Sentences should always start with a capital letter and end in either a period, exclamation point or question mark. A complete sentence always contains a verb, expresses an idea and makes sense standing alone.
  1. Avoid the passive voice – The passive voice is used to show interest in the person or object that experiences an action rather than the person or object that performs the action.
  1. Punctuation is important; clauses will translate best if separated by commas – Punctuation is the feature of writing that gives meaning to the written word. An error in punctuation can convey a completely different meaning to the one that is intended.
  1. Try to use simple, declarative sentences – A declarative sentence makes a statement, is in a present tense, and ends in a period. These are the most common sentences in the English language. It can either be a simple or compound sentence.
  1. Avoid ambiguity – To avoid ambiguity keep your sentences short, start with the subject, then the verb and end with the object. Use words and tenses consistently throughout.
  1. Avoid abbreviations, acronyms, jargon and colloquialisms – An abbreviation or acronym should first be spelled out if there are to be used consistently in a document. Colloquialisms are informal forms of speech and should be used mainly for speaking and not writing. Abbreviations, acronyms and jargon can be added to your User Dictionary or Translation Memories.
  1. Use your Dictionary Manager – SYSTRAN software includes a feature called the Dictionary Manager, which allows you to create your own dictionaries to supplement or override the main dictionary that comes with the program.  Using this feature can make substantial improvements to the translation.

The accuracy of the translation varies with the input.  If the input text is grammatically correct and unambiguous, it should translate well enough to convey the gist of what’s been written.

By: Ashley Shuler, Technical Support Analyst and Brooke Palm, Director of Customer Care SYSTRAN Software, Inc.