Posteado por: dollyhaze | junio 19, 2008

Q3: Differences between some specialized terms

Here you can see the difference between: machine translation, machine
aided translation (aka Computer-assisted translation) and translation
technology (aka Translation)

Machine translation, sometimes referred to by the abbreviation
MT, is a sub-field of computational linguistics that investigates
the use of computer software to translate text or speech from one
natural language to another. At its basic level, MT performs
simple substitution of words in one natural language for words
in another. Using corpus techniques, more complex translations
may be attempted, allowing for better handling of differences in
linguistic typology, phrase recognition, and translation of idioms,
as well as the isolation of anomalies.
Current machine translation software often allows for customisation
by domain or profession (such as weather reports) — improving
output by limiting the scope of allowable substitutions. This technique
is particularly effective in domains where formal or formulaic
language is used. It follows then that machine translation of
government and legal documents more readily produces usable output
than conversation or less standardised text.


Computer-assisted translation,computer-aided translation, or
CAT is a form of translation wherein a human translator translates
texts using computer software designed to support and facilitate the
translation process.
Computer-assisted translation is sometimes called machine-assisted,
or machine-aided.

Translation is the action of interpretation of the meaning of a text,
and subsequent production of an equivalent text, also called a translation,
that communicates the same message in another language. The text to be
translated is called the source text, and the language it is to be translated
into is called the target language; the final product is sometimes called the
“target text.”
Translation must take into account constraints that include context, the rules
of grammar of the two languages, their writing conventions, and their idioms.
A common misconception is that there exists a simple word-for-word
correspondence between any two languages, and that translation is a
straightforward mechanical process. A word-for-word translation does not
take into account context, grammar, conventions, and idioms.

Reference page



  1. My approach to the analysis of idioms is based on determining the etymology
    of the idiom. It is no better or more accurate than the determination of the
    etymology of any other word or phrase. However, the phonetic aspect is often
    easier because most idioms have more syllables than most single words.

    To use an idiom properly does not require any knowledge of its etymology.
    However, this knowledge may help an L2 student remember an idiom and
    how/when to use it.

    When I was a young kid, all of my friends and I knew the meaning of “escape
    by the skin of my teeth” and not a single one of us knew it was the
    translation of B’3or SHinai, a Hebrew pun on the word B’QoSHi (which means
    barely, hardly, with difficulty) in the biblical book of Job 19:20.

    The majority of idioms are transliterated (not translated) from a foreign
    language directly into words that look/sound/feel like the target language.
    For English idioms, there are not a lot of foreign languages involved:
    Germanic languages, Latin, Aramaic (during the 600 years it was a lingua
    franca), French (1066), Hebrew & Greek (biblical translation), Arabic (7
    Crusades, Spanish Armada 1588 => Black Irish), Yiddish (in England prior to
    the Expulsion in 1290; 1840s from Germany, early 1900s from Eastern Europe),

    A minority of idioms are the translation of foreign idioms. These are more
    difficult to analyze because one needs to know not only the language of the
    source but also the foreign language into which the transliteration (sic)
    was made, which may or may not be the same. Additional intermediate
    translations should not affect the result if they were faithful.

    A cute translation idiom is “count sheep !” to go to sleep. This is probably
    the translation of a Hebrew pun S’PoR TSo@N on the Latin phrase sopor (as in
    soporific) sond (as in soundly / deeply). This English idiom has been
    retranslated back into Israeli Hebrew as LiSPoR KeVeS = to count sheep.

    In a few cases, the “original” was a euphemism and not “plain text”. I
    suspect this is the case with “kick the bucket”. It seems to be the direct
    transliteration of a Semitic euphemism for dying: to make love in Paradise.
    Using 3 for aiyin with its ancient G/K-sound: 3aGaV = make physical love +
    B’3aiDeN = in Eden. 3G => Kick, vB3Dn => BucKeT.

    In other words, this type of idiom formation represents the target
    languag-ification of a foreign word or phrase. It can be most easily
    illustrated with a foreign phrase that did *not* become an idiom: Latin e
    pluribus unum = out of many, one. This is a motto of the USA. If it had
    become an idiom, it might have become “a flower bush you name” but would
    retain its original Latin meaning. It would probably acquire a folk
    etymology, such as: we could give a flower bush many names, but we usually
    give it only one.

    Transliteration idioms are most easily formed at a time when most
    target-language speakers do not read and write. They hear a foreign
    word/phrase, understand its meaning in context, and convert its sounds into
    target-language words they do know.

    For a rare modern example, “face the music” is attested in the United States
    from the 1840s. This “music” is probably from Yiddish MoSKoNeh = inference,
    deduction, hence, consequences, from Hebrew MaSKaNah with the same meaning.

    Etymology is not an exact science. The 3 etymologies that a non-linguist is
    most likely to “know” are all false. Muscle is not from Latin musculus = a
    small mouse. Sabotage is not from French sabot = an old shoe. And cabal is
    from Hebrew het-bet-lamed = to plot, scheme, not from Hebrew Kabbalah =
    esoteric knowledge, literally, received (tradition). Porcelain has nothing
    to do with a porcine vulva, and gossamer is from Latin Gossypium = cotton,
    not from goose + summer :-). But that is another story.

    For more examples of idiom etymologies, do a Google search for

    Best regards,
    Israel “izzy” Cohen


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