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Old 19.06.2011, 14:40
peterg
 
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Leo.org - What am I missing

I keep hearing references to www.leo.org, and how invaluable it is.

Trouble is, I just don't get it. Does it translate phrases or just words? When I enter a German word, I often get a long list of every possible translation, which tends to confuse rather than enlighten.

I've happily used Google Translate which will translate blocks of text and will even automatically translate pages as I open them. And there's always good old Babelfish which you can enter a URL into for a whole page/site translation.

I can't see how I can do any of this with leo.org. Am I missing something, or is it just a specialist tool for getting multiple definitions for single words? I can't even find much guidance on there about how to use it.

Tell me what I'm missing.

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Old 19.06.2011, 14:56
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Re: Leo.org - What am I missing

A single word can have multiple meanings, depending on the context.
I don't think even google can guess what mean if e.g. you enter the German word "gehen" into its translate-box.

leo.org also has a forum, where questions can be asked and real humans answer.

While google-translate is good, I still prefer leo for most English-German / French-German translations.
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Old 19.06.2011, 15:03
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Re: Leo.org - What am I missing

Leo.org is a dictionnary. You have to klick the other way around to check if this is the word used in the context you need. If gives you a wide range of possibilities and you have to choose the one for you. Like any other dictionnary.

Googletranslate and bablefish will choose for you. Do they always choose right? Or often enough? My answer is NO and NO. You may have a different answer, I don't know your standards. But trust me on one thing: I do that with my students, force them to translate with Babelfish and then I tell them what they actually have... they don't like it. They feel betrayed. But if there is nobody to tell you that you've been betrayed, how will you know that you were? This is why learning a language is a must for everybody, and Leo.org is there for learning, not for translating. You spotted that right.
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Old 19.06.2011, 15:06
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Re: Leo.org - What am I missing

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A single word can have multiple meanings, depending on the context.
I don't think even google can guess what mean if e.g. you enter the German word "gehen" into its translate-box.

leo.org also has a forum, where questions can be asked and real humans answer.

While google-translate is good, I still prefer leo for most English-German / French-German translations.
Sure, if I came across an unusual word, or one that just didn't seem to make sense given my previous understanding of it, I can see that Leo.org would be good. But my usual need is to translate chunks of text from letters and documents etc and I don't see any way that I can do this with Leo, apart from one word at a time.

So is that what it's for then? Needing to research just single words that are puzzling you?
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Old 19.06.2011, 15:09
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Re: Leo.org - What am I missing

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Sure, if I came across an unusual word, or one that just didn't seem to make sense given my previous understanding of it, I can see that Leo.org would be good. But my usual need is to translate chunks of text from letters and documents etc and I don't see any way that I can do this with Leo, apart from one word at a time.

So is that what it's for then? Needing to research just single words that are puzzling you?
Yes.
You need to speak the language to make use of any translation tool. At least that's my opinion.
I would feel rather lost e.g. in Russia with only Google-translate... (though the app is absolutely great)
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Old 19.06.2011, 15:11
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Re: Leo.org - What am I missing

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Leo.org is a dictionnary. You have to klick the other way around to check if this is the word used in the context you need. If gives you a wide range of possibilities and you have to choose the one for you. Like any other dictionnary.

Googletranslate and bablefish will choose for you. Do they always choose right? Or often enough? My answer is NO and NO. You may have a different answer, I don't know your standards. But trust me on one thing: I do that with my students, force them to translate with Babelfish and then I tell them what they actually have... they don't like it. They feel betrayed. But if there is nobody to tell you that you've been betrayed, how will you know that you were? This is why learning a language is a must for everybody, and Leo.org is there for learning, not for translating. You spotted that right.
Ah, fair enough. So perhaps if I am writing a formal letter or essay and am struggling for a word, Leo.org is the place to go?

As for Google Translate, yes, I totally agree that the translations are not, and cannot be, perfect, but for quickly translating chunks of text on a website, or letters, or cooking instructions on food etc, it does a great job.

Sounds like Leo is a heavyweight tool for students -- and very good, I'm sure.
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Old 19.06.2011, 15:14
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Re: Leo.org - What am I missing

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But my usual need is to translate chunks of text from letters and documents etc
For that, you need a human brain. Yours or somebody else's. That brain would have learnt the language beforehand. Leo.org would have been part of that learning process. Turning to leo.org for help when translating does not match your needs. Leo.org addresses the needs of people in the learning process, and you need somebody that has this process behind him/her and actually has the knowledge.
For some situations, and as low the standards are by Babelfish or googlestranslate, it can be sufficient. Some situations.
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Old 19.06.2011, 17:07
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Re: Leo.org - What am I missing

Try Freetranslation.com...it's a great translating website. I don't care for Leo.org either.
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Old 19.06.2011, 17:23
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Re: Leo.org - What am I missing

I think it is great thing that the dictionary offers translation of all the words which contain ambiguity. It forces your brain to exercise a bit more and to think how to find out in what particular context the given word can be used. Afterall dictionary is just merely a tool to help you out with finging an accurate word but not to do the whole translating job which is onus on your part. I also don't think that there exist such a machine translator that will translate everything completely one-to-one without leaving you with no doubt. Only expert in particular field where the words are used in right context can provide accurate translation.
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Old 19.06.2011, 17:30
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Re: Leo.org - What am I missing

Leo.org also offers grammar options for the verbs so you can see how the meaning alters depending on which preposition or which case you use it with.

There is also a forum which has native speakers offering tips and alternatives.
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Old 19.06.2011, 17:34
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Re: Leo.org - What am I missing

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Leo.org also offers grammar options for the verbs so you can see how the meaning alters depending on which preposition or which case you use it with.

There is also a forum which has native speakers offering tips and alternatives.
Most importantly there is an iPhone app (for Apple users) available with leo's head icon, which I just have downloaded
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Old 19.06.2011, 18:29
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Re: Leo.org - What am I missing

At my office, www.dict.cc is much more popular than Leo.org. dict.cc also has an iPhone app so it can be used off-line, which is extremely convenient.
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Old 19.06.2011, 18:32
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Re: Leo.org - What am I missing

True, German speakers specially love that leo.org.... and I don't have nothing against, but I don't find it nicier than other translators or dictionaries online and offline.
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Old 19.06.2011, 20:19
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Re: Leo.org - What am I missing

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True, German speakers specially love that leo.org.... and I don't have nothing against, but I don't find it nicier than other translators or dictionaries online and offline.
The forums are quite nice, actually, for more obscure phrases (particuliarly idiomatic phrases).

Essentially, you use Leo (or another dictionary) if you speak the language and are looking for a precise word (or meaning of one). You use google if you don't speak the language and just want to get the gist of something.
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Old 23.06.2011, 19:04
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Re: Leo.org - What am I missing

Yes, leo.org is well regarded as a resource among us students - it is published by the Institut für Deutsche Sprache at the University Mannheim. It's list of links to other language resources is impressive by the way. And it is free. For dictionaries, you have an alternative with pons.eu, dict.cc or sometimes linguee.com, all of which provide helpful input for translating chunks of phrases - and still are free resources. I'd only use Google Translate if I had someone else to countercheck the wording and re-read it before sending off the translation.
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Old 25.06.2011, 13:57
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Re: Leo.org - What am I missing

dict.cc is another good one...
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Old 28.06.2011, 09:29
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Re: Leo.org - What am I missing

I found leo really useful for translating scientific/technical words. These are the kind of words that aren't necessarily in a 'normal' dictionary. And, as mentioned above the forum is there for words/phrases you can't find an immediate translation for.
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Old 28.06.2011, 09:46
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Re: Leo.org - What am I missing

I find leo.org a highly valuable resource for my day to day work, which often involves translating technical and scientific documents from German to English. As mentioned above, it helps if you already have a pretty good knowledge of German and can understand and identify the context.
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Old 28.06.2011, 09:46
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Re: Leo.org - What am I missing

Ahh leo...

Every time, without fail, when someone says a grammatically correct sentence, but throws in some amazingly funny words, they routinely use leo.org.

Personally, I don't find it to be helpful at all - the lists of words tend to be Shakespearian or academic at best. Unless you've already got a very solid foundation on the language, this will only confuse you and lead to sentences that come straight from the 1300's.
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Old 28.06.2011, 09:53
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Re: Leo.org - What am I missing

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Unless you've already got a very solid foundation on the language, this will only confuse you and lead to sentences that come straight from the 1300's.
Forsooth. ..
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