I’m trying to finish up various little tasks that I started ages ago. One of these was a translation of book 7 of the Dialogue with a Persian by Manuel Paleologus, which got Pope Benedict into such hot water with the Moslems awhile back. I’ve been looking at the French version of this.
Here’s a tip. Take a single sentence, and run it through Google translate. You’ll get a box with the French; and opposite it, the English, more or less good. But… at the bottom right, you’ll get “Contribute a better translation.” Click this box, and edit the machine translation there into proper English. Then hit the button and submit it to Google.
Firstly, when you copy back your edited version, it’s in a sensible font rather than Courier (which is what you get otherwise). Secondly, since Google Translate works by using existing translations of texts, you’re actually increasing their database and making it more likely that the result will work for you next time.
The results, from French, are really very good; better than Systran, which I have used so far. I need to see how good it is on Italian!